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Boston University

OpenBU http://open.bu.edu
Theses & Dissertations Dissertations and Theses (pre-1964)

1954

Procedures, methods, and


techniques in church choir training.

Weigle, George Averill


Boston University

https://hdl.handle.net/2144/8743
Boston University
BOSTON UNI VERS ITY

CrRAD UATE SC HOOL

THESIS

J>RCCEDURES, Nl!.:THODS , AND Tl!..CHN I Q,UES I N CHURCH CHOIR Tl=tAI NI NG

by
George Averill Weigle
(A.B., West Virg i ni a We s leyan Colle ge,l950)

Sub mitt ed in p Ar ti a l fulfill ment of the


re quirement s for the d egr e e of
lvJ st -::- r of Arts
1954

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OUTLINE

I. INTRODUCTI ON • . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . i

II. CHAPTER I. The Rehearsal •••. ....... ·......... . 1

1. Procedure. ........................... 1

2. Seating •........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3. A tmosphere~•.... . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 6
4. Time of reh eer sal •.... ............... 9

III. CHAPTER II. The Voice ...... . . ................ . 1 2


1. Voice Selecti on •.. . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2. Brea thing •.•. 16

3. Re ading ..... . 19
4. Attributes of Chorister ••. 22

IV. CHAPTER III. I~usic al Expression •...•.......••• 24


1. Tempo, Rhythm• .•...................•• 24

2 • Dyn amics .... . .....•••. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


3. Blend end Balance ••... I • I I • 8 • I •• I I I •• 32
4. Intona tion ••••........ ........... . 33
V. CHAPTER IV. The Or ganist ••••••••....••.• ••... •• 37

VI. CHAPTER V. The Conductor ••.••.••..• .•.•. ..•••• 44

1. Conducting ... . ......... ....... ......... 44

2. Prereo uisites • • • •.•••. •.•••...•••• ••••• 46

3. Persona l qu a lific a tion ••...•...•...•••• 49


4. Conductor a nd Choir Director •• ••••••• •• 50
s. The Choir Dir e ctor . ........ .. .... . ...... 51
l=: t;
6 . Selec t ion of !Jlu sic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _,; _,

VII. CHAP TER VI. Chor a l Org a niz a tion •••••...••..••• 57


1. Junior Choir • • •••••••...••••........••• 57
2. Int e r mediate Choir ••••.•••.... .. .....•• 59

3. Adult Choir •• • .•.....•....••.•......••• 62


4. Organiz a tion o f Adult Choir ••••...•..•• 63
5. Attend ance .. . .... . ....... .............. 77
6 . Publicity .............. ....... ......... 80
7. The Music Co mT: it t ee •••• .• .••••• . ..••••• 81

VIII. CHAPTER VII. A Surve y o f Cont e iE_r:; ,o'!' a .t'y


Church IV~u sic ••. .•••.... .•••• 85

IX. BIBLI OGR APHY •••••••••.•••.•••....••.......•.•• 89

X. /illS trRACT • . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ( i )
INTRODUCTION

Church music is r apiely r e a ching a higher degree of


proficiency. lin indic a tion of thj. s is the incre a se of for-

ma l instruction in church music being off ered in colleg es and


universities throu ghout the country.
In the l arger cities, organists and choirma ste rs in the
churches are competent, 1..rell-tra.ined musicians, who g ive full
ti me to the music of the church and c arry t h e title " :r. .Y:tni s ter
of ;_v~usic 11 • Their budg et usue.lly malces possible a p aid choir
if necessary, or a t least , paid soloists.
Howeve r, t here a re numerous churches which do not h a ve
the fin anc es to employ a f ull time director of music , or to
p ay for singers or solois t s in the choir. These churches must
rely on loc al t a lent for l ea dershi p and choir me mbership.
It is with these churc h es in mind tha t this thesis is
written. Methods of emine nt choral conductor s over the pre-
vious f i fty years which h a ve peen used and found successfuJ ·
are included in this study . Also, ob s ervations h nve been
made in various churches in l arge cities and rural communi-
ties .
The purpo s e of this thesis i s to a s ::,e 'Tlble the b a sic
procedu r es an d techni ques nec e ss a ry for e fficient church choir
training . Many t ech n i c al a spects, such a s votc e tr s ining , etc.,

h ave been intentl ona lly omit ted by the author. These
t e chnic al p roblems are left to the voice technici ans Y.I here
ii

authority is b a sed on yee rs of study and experience. May


this thesis give the amateur choir director a clearer in-
s ight into the proper p rocedure for tra ining the church choir.
CHAPTER I

The Rehearsal

1. Procedure

The rehe arsal is the life blood of the choir. It is

here that choirs a re developed into a singing uni t y from

al l types of voices a n d pe rsona lities. Here is where t h e

conductor moul 4 s the voic e s into t h e sounds a nd e ff e cts that

h e desires. All the effort for correct s i nging is done in

t h e reh e a rs e l. This i s the ti me wh e n a ll persona l b a rriers

are let down a nd each s i n g er beco mes a :ne mber of the same

co mmunity a dding, to t h e best o f his a bil i ty, to the overall

e f f ect n o t a s a 2oloist b u t as a membe r of a g roup.

The successful r ehea_rsal dep ends u p on thorough pl an n ing.

Each piece of mus i c to b e rehe ar s ed must be selected with

c are a nd pl a c e d in th e r ehears a l so t ha t the max i mum e ffort

is obt B_ined from the singe rs. Anthems shoul d be pl a c ed in re-

hear 2al six to e i gh t weeks pr ior to the Sunday perfo r mance.

P l a ci ng the a nthems i n i nd ividual fold e rs and numbering them

f a cil itates handling th em du ring rehearsal.

Appointed c h o i r memb e rs should have t h e rehears a l room

in readiness \'Jhen the choir members 8.rri ve. This includes

h a ving the c hai rs arr a n ged in p roper orde.t and ~1 avin g music

and hymnals pl a ced on each c hair. Those in char g e of t he re-

hearsal a rr 8n g e ments s hould a lso see t hat room is properly


2

lighted and ventilated.

The conductor should be s.t rehearsal early enou gh to

have a f ew moments in ouiet meditation b e fore the choir

membe rs e rri. ve. This e-t v e s him ti me to think over his p l:m

of rehea rs a l, to g et p eace of mind before app ro a ching his

choir, Emd to re e dy hi mr.elf for the task of i ns tilling in

his c hoi r the desire to s ing .

The rehearsal shou ld be e; ln p romp tly e v en if t h ere are


1
only a few p r esen t. • There vrill be some voice p a rt, passae: e

or o_u es tio n that c an be solved vrh ile wa i tine· for l a tecomers.

I t is necessary to sta rt p ro mptly since the ti me of re-

h ears a l is very short a nd s o muc h ha s to be a cco mp li s hed.

In be g inning the .r·eh e ars a l, p rovided the ma jority of

t he membe rs e re p resent, the choir should voc a lize on s imp le

exercises to ge t their vo ces in tune an4 to cl ear the voice

from :::my obstructions. Thes e exercj ses must be don e s oftly so

as not to tire or str a in t he voice ~ s fore beginning work on

the a ctu ~ l music to be re ~e arsed. Such exercises might be

buildln£ chor d s fro m the b8.ss p art u p and sust a ininf them

so a s to enable the sing e r s to tune their voices vri th the

others. Li ght staccato n o tes in scales or homophonic pro-

g r ess ions wi ll loosen the voice a nd make it more flexible.

Att a c ks and r ele ase s, dyna mic change s, crescendos, descres-


cend os, wi ll a l e rt the mi nd ' a nd focus the a ttention of the

1. Sydney H. Nicholson; Qulres and Pl a c es_ -,rv'here ~hey Si ng


G. Bel l and Gone, Ltd. ( Lono on 1 9 32)
I
3

choir member ·on the conductor. T~1ese may be used with dis-
cretion und er various circums t c.nces. The incH vidual choir and
conductor \vil l ut ilize t h ose exer cises t h ey find mos t sui t able • 1 •
Aft er brief exercises the anthem to be used for the
following Sunday shoul d be rehearse d . By the ti me of this
rehee.rs e. l it should be note p erfect a.nd the choir should be
r ead y for the fin a l det a i ls o f i n terpretation . With the eyes
of the choir fo cus ed on h i m t he conductor n ovr dire cts with
ge stures \·.rhlch will add t o the dyn a.mi cs, phrasing s, and
other deteils of i nterpre ta tion. The a nthem is then pu t a -
side to be done aga in in t h e sa.n ctu .9ry 11i th the organ a.s the
l a st thinE before ending t he rehears a l.
After the f i rst anthem , whic h i s for the i mmedi a te
Sunf a y's service, one of th e hymn s may n ow be rehe a rsed to
ad d variety, to e_- ive the s i ng ers a br eak , and t o ea se the
t ensions on their voices.
'This proc edure of re h eorsing is co n tinued, alternat ing
the anthems s o a s to a fford v ar ie ty. It is necessary to
mention , h o wever, th a t the ne we st anth em will be intro duced
by letting the choir see it, dis cus s the meaning of the
t ex t, and hear it pl gy ed on the p iano while the choir
follows along s il en tly. Under c ert a in circumst an ces the
choir might read. throu gh the ~nthem once and then put in a-

side until the f ollowing r ehears a l when 1 t is gone over a.nd

1. Finely J. ~~·i l li am son : " Pl a.nning a. Chora l Rehearsal".


Etude :rvray, 1 951
4

the par ts carefully r ehea rsed. Between e.nthems the h ymns and
re spo nses may be rehe arsed. Stress must be pl a ced on the re-
hea.rsing of the r e s ponses. Thes e are the expression of the
congregation. The choir J.ea.ds in t he respon se s as they do in
the hymns, therefore they are r esponsible for knowing them well
and singing them properly.
In pl anning the rehe ars al the conductor must vary the
typ e of mus i c so t h e rehe ars a l does not beco me tiring or
boring to t he choir. 1 • This means tha t one voice part is not
left i d le too long whi l e some other voice part is rehearsing.
Add voice parts when rehe arsinf a difficult pa ss ag e, such
as the tenor to the bass, alto to t enor, etc. One method when
introducing new music, ( after the words h ave been studied,) be-
g in with t he bass part when l earning n otes and buil d up , l eaving
the soprano until l a st, since it is usu ally the me lody and is
easiest l earned. (Princi ple s should be t aught when g iving in-
struction to choir.)

2 . Seating

Each condu ctor ha s his preference for seating his choir


but in gener a l the follo wi ng is co mmonly u sed for the choir
wi th b a l an ced voice parts.

____ __ ...... --· --- - - - - . -

1. Hel en M. Hasmer; "Te chnics of Chora l Conduc t i ng "; Etude,


Janu ary, 19l.J9
5

The a ver ae: e church choir wi th its weakness in male

voices coul d use the follo wing :

S ~- b.:"'o ~\ "'\:0

-rc~oY ~0.~

or :

Toe. "'- o" ~ ~~ ;

T\ '~~ . ' ., ""'"·0

The pr i ma ry fa ct to remember when se eting the parts is

a l ways to have the weakest voic e s where they will b e h e a rd.

Pl a cing weak tenors behin ~ a strong soprano section will re-

sult in the tenors not b e 'ng heard , where a s if the t enors

were in f r ont of or b e hind the al to voic e s, they woul d be more

li kel y to be hea r d and would blend more read ily. In rehearsal

and performance, choir members should sit in th e same rela-

tionship to each other. This wi l l enable the choir member

to become a ccusto med to h earing his neighbor and will f a cili-

tate the blending of voic e s. It will also a id the conductor


1
when loo k ing for voice par ts. •

Seating in the rehearsal room shoul d be s pa ced so th a t

the a p p e a rance is tha t of a full choir. In a l arge room

1. Tne Art of The Choral Conductor.


Vol. one-CT. Bircha rd a:1.d Co .",
(BQston 1 939 )
6

more space may be pl aced between chairs thus e iving the


ef'fec t of a larger group. T:"li s makes t he group f ee l le rger
e"nd te.kes av.1ay the lost fe e line: \v hen a small group is in

a l a rge room. In placing chairs f or the rehearsal alway s


have less chairs than t h e expect ed number of members. By

having • to bring in additional chairs as the rehearsal


pro gr e sses and late-comers arrive it appears fuat t he at-
tendance is up even though it may actually be below a verage. 1 •
Foot t app ing in r eh ea rsal is to be discourage d. If it
becomes a he.bi t in rehearsal it might carry over to the pe r-
forma.n ce where it is not only poor te.ste but very distr a cting.
~hen it is necess a ry in rehearsa l to t ap in order to
ac centu ate rhythm use the h a nds, strike the palm of one hand
with the fingers of the other ha.nd very strongly. This vlill
not only produce b e tter results but will no t be done in per-
f ormance since the hands a re either to the side or holding

music.

3. Atmosphere
The a tmosphere curing rehearsB.l not only means the
physical co mforts of the choir members but also the rel a tion
b etv.re en choir members and conductor and between memb ers o:f the
choir.
The physical comfort of the choir member is important,
especi a lly that of ventilation and lighting. If the air be-

1. Notes t aken from lecture in "Church !Jiu s ic l"linistries and


Tne Fine ~rts 11 by A~len Lann om a t Boston University---
7

co mes stale o r to o ·rHrm the choir b e co ~es fqti e:ued a nd c a nno t

sing vV" i th ease. The intonat i on will drop auto ma tic a ll y. It

is necess a ry to keep freEh a ir circ ul a ting but without a

d r a ft. If cond itions a re such t ha t fr esh air is not

a ccessible wi t hout d r a fts , t h en a break shoul d be ma de in

t he rehe a r sa l 8 nd the wi ndows or doo rs opened to c h a n g e the


1
a ir in the room. •

The lighting is often p oor i n t he re hears a l r oom . Often

t h e l igh t shines dire c t ly in the eyes of t he choir members

and they h a ve di fficulty in se eln f: the condu ctor, or vice

versa, or else , it is so dim c h oir members hav e to s tr a.in

to s ee the mus ic. If conditions a re such t ha t t h e l i g h t c an

not b e suitable f or a l l, t he choir sh oul d b e f a vor e d , not

the condu ctor. Under most circu mstances some a rr a ngement

c a n be ma de to ad j us t t h e situa tion to the benefit of a ll

concerned.

~ve ry rehears~l roo m ehould ha ve a pi a no tha t ts in

tune. All initi a l rehe ar sing is done with the pi a no. The

s a nctu a ry a n d the org a n are not us ed for rehearsing t h e

church choir until the musi c h a s been lea rned. The organ,
if used, in reh e e.rsing n ew music, d o e s not make voice

parts cl ea r to the choir memb e rs, whereas the p i ano lets t h e

volcas b e h e a.r d bY the condu ctor and the c h oir members. When

e: iving out a sine: l e l lne , the piano de t a c hes e Bc h l1.0te so

~~--------------
1. Max T. Krone; The Cho rus a nd The Condu ctor
Kei l A. Kj os ~usi c Pub:
( Chicago 1945)
8

the singer c an hear each i nt e rval more cle arly. The organ
e,lso has the tendency to c over up the voices and the mis-
t ake s.
The rele.tionship between that of choir and conductor
must be harmonious or little will be accomplished.
The condu ctor' s responsibility falls in t he same category
1
as th a t of a teacher. • He gi v es constructive criticism with-
out offense; he l eads and the ch oir follo ws.
"The rehearsals should be the mos t interesting
part of the pe rform5.ng of a l a rge choral work
to al l concerned. The condu ctor should te a ch
without being didactic, should be serious without
being pedantic, and humorous vt i thout being fercial
or inane ••. he shoul d be critic a l ~ut not pe rsona l:
encouraging but not flatt er ing ••• 11 •
Rehearsals a re inter es ting to t he degree of a ccomplish-
ment. It is the Director's t a sk to keep the re hear sal a s
int e r esti ng e.nd progre s sive a s possible. He must know when
an d how to critici z e an individual. It is usu a lly better to
critici ze the section as a whole thereby avoi ding injury to
persona l feelings. A section v!i ll t.ake criticism well but
not al ways the individual. If it is ne ces sary to speak to
an indi vi dual i t is better to do it pr ivately. There will ' be
times when · an indi vi du al criticism v-:ill hav e to be mc:.de. ~'ih en

this h appens the statement should be short a n d to the point with-


out dwelling on the subJect. This will h ave the effect desired
and t he rehearsal c a n c ont~nue without lengthy interruption.
1. Frenk 'Da:mr-·osc'h ; 11 The Rel ati on of th e Choral Conductor to
t he Prof essiona l Orchestra".
2. Damrosch; op. cit.
9

In positions where t he Dire ctor has excellent r apport with


h is choir, criticism on the indi vidua l ba sE may be used
successfully.
The conductor is the s ol e a.uthori ty in the rehe ars a l and
should not a llow interf er>r''1.C e fran choir membe r, music
committee, cler gy , or anyone el se. He mu s t be able to rule
h i mse lf first b efor e he c an rule the choir. He must be
courteous but firm.

4. Ti me of Rehear sal
As a rule, mo s t church choirs me et once a '~:le e k for re-
hearsi ng . l. The time for these rehe a rs als is set so : ~ s t6
b e suit abl e for the member s, the community , and the church
c a l end a r. In s ome communiti es one ni ght i s s et as i de for
choir rehears a ls t hrou ghout the co mmuni ty and no other
civic a cti vity t ak e s pl Bce on tha t night. This is a most
co m'Tlendabl e situ a tion for it eliminates the conflict of
outsi de int er e st s with rehearsal night. With the a ver ag e
volunteer choir it t ake s extreme loyalty to viar d off the
temptations of outsi de a tt ractions i•rhen they f a ll on re-
hearsal ni ght. This i s als o true of Sunday morning ser-
·.
11
vices when ma.n y choir members feel t h e ur ge to take to
the open ro a d" inste a d of the pa th to church and choir.
The ni gh ts most often selecte d for ch oir rehears als are

1. See ch apter VII under l en gth of rehe ars a ls , a s de-


ter mined fro m .questionna ire.
10

-l'i ednesday. Thursday, or Friday ni ghts , this being the nea,r-


est to Sunday. In this way the benefits of the rehearsal wil l
not be forgotten between the rehearsal and the p erform ance on
Sunday morning. The length of -rehearsal varies from one
and one- half hours to two hours or longer. l, ·
The rehearsal shoul d. begin promptly a,nd end when the
normal time for end ing co mes , or when the conductor has said
it would end if it is to be an extra long rehearsal. This
is i mportant for the conductor if he expects to keep the
confi dence of his choir. He must rem ember that they ar e
giving their time voluntarily and plan their -activi ties
around the choir and the t ime of rehearsals. The Director
must not lose the confidence of his choir by making pro-
mises and not keeping them.
As director of a volunteer church choir, the author found
the.t by beginning promptly and dismissing at the time promised
special rehearsals coul d be called for a t any hour and have the
majority of the choir there. Once a special rehearsal was
called for nine o'clock on a Saturday evening a fter most the
choir ~embers had wor ked in pla c es of business until that hour,
and still the attendance \vas perfect. They commenced re-
hearsing on time and consequently, when the time came tor dis-
missal they could be dismissed hav ing a ccomplished t he
purpose.
1. See Chap ter VII for l ength ofrehearss l a s determimi
by qu estionna ire.
11

The i mportant thing to r ememb er i s t o se t a ti me and


then stick to :t t. This v.rill be to th e ad v ant ag e of the con-
ductor, t h e choir, an d in particul ar to the amount of p ro-
gr ess made.
There is usu a lly a bri e f rehearsal before t he service
on Sunda y, and this is ver y i mportant. It not only helps
ge t the voice in condition but refreshes the memory of the
ch oir memb ers a s to f i ne de t a il s of i n terpreta tions and
he l p s the choir members e; et in a proper fr ame of mind for
t h e service.
The i mportant p oints to remember for go od rehears a l
a.re : A. The rehe arsal shoul d be thorou ghly pl anned. B.
The re he arsal roomshould be ·\tlell ven til a t ed and li gh ted.
C. The sea.tinE shoul d be so arr ange d as to give the best
balanc e of tone. D. The music und er rehearsa.l shoul d have
v ar iety enough t o gi ve in ~ erest t o the reh ears al.
If these fe w basic po i nts ~r e fo llo wed , add i ng to them
and suttracting from them vlher e t h e c i rcu ms t ances necessitates ,
the conductor , the choir, and the c hu rch wil l fi nd insplr a tion
throu gh the music of worship .
12

CHAPTER II

The Voice
1. Voice Seection

To build a nd develop a good choir there must be some


st andard for admission. If there is no method or means of
selecting the desirable voices, the choir will consist of
voic es that will hinder true choral a chievement.
To determine i'ihich voices are sui table, an au dition must
be h eld. The audition does mo re than gi ve the dire ctor a
technical knmdedge of the p erson's voice It e: i ves him an
opp ortunity to become a cqu e_inte d v'li th the person as an in-
divi du al. It a lso gives t he director ti me to di s cuss choir
policies and to orient the prospe c tive memb er with t he functions
of the choir.
F'or those persons who do not mee t the re quirem en ts for
admission but 'A'h o show pro mis e and genuine int e rest t h ere
should be a wait ing list wi th possible adm is s ion l a te r . How-
ever , one ivi thou t pro mise should be dealt -,ri th k i nd ly and
with courtesy but with hone sty. He shoul d not be misled with
e mpty promises.

The musi c a l require ment s should be kept simp le enough


that the p erson with some music a l ability and a re al desire
to sing could satisfy that desire. The audition shoul d be
based on the a s sump tion that the p erson has had no for mal
13

vocal trainin ~ but has a keen desire to sing. The train-


ing and experience \Till be furnished by the director after
adm ission to the choir.
"Any pr ogram deserving the title of ' ministry'
in music not only should conc ern itse lf with
those a lready identified vii th Churc h choral
effort but should constantly be dis c overing
hitherto unused talent. 11 1 -

The music al requirements should be based on the


following : int one.tionand p itch dis cri mina.tion, tone qu ality
at various dynamic levels, tone-color , and ensemble c apabil-
i ty. A probati onary perio d shoul d be extended those v-rho
cr eat e a doubt i n the direc t or's mi nd . They should be
obs erv e d and pe~~"PS changes coul d be mad e so that the indiv-
idual w6u l d i mpr ove satisfa ctorily enough to mee t with full
approv a l.
The audttion itself shoul d be designed to reach the
max imum in co mprehensiveness without being too de t a il e d.
It shoul d be standardized. This vril l el i minate t i me in try-
ing to deter mine the procedure for e a ch e.pplicant . There
should be printed for ms f rom Vfhich the director coul d wor k .
These for ms should pro vi de co mp lete and e a sily a cces s ible
information to be kept on file for future reference.
The firs t pro c edure in auditioning an applicant is to
make him f ee l a t e~se by carrying on a conversation wi th him.

l. Donald D. Ket tri ng ; Steu s To1-1ard a Si ne:ine: Church


Westminster Pres s,(Phil adelphia l948Y PD. 105-
14

VJhile · do i ne: this the di rector can obt e.in informe.tion to be


p l aced on a printed card. The applicant's n ame , addr es e ,
phone number, and date of e.p p lic at ion shoul d be note d . Further
infor ma tion inclu::5 es churc h membe rship, chor8l experience, and
v o c al and instru ments.l tra ining . From this informati on the
di r e c to r c an determine the background 'flD.:d possi bill ties of

the a.pplicant.
One p ossible procedure might be a voc a l test at the
1
piano. It is we ll. to mention that a ll applicants ~hbuldbe re-
o_uire d t o take the test so a s to remove any feeli ne;: of dis-
crimina tion. A note is fiven on the p i ano and the app lic ant
is asked to hum the same note a s quickly a s p ossible. This
determines his . c apabili ty t o reproduce a g iv en note a ccuately
and his s ense of intona tio n . The di rector can listen for
sharping , flatting, t h e l ack of mu scula,r control for choral
sing ing , and singing in the wrong register r a ther than actual
pitch weakness. The l a tt er \•.rill often disappear a ft e r having
choral experience. If the appli c ant c annot reproduce the
gi ven tone then he must be turned do wn. If there is a p ossi-
bility he might overcome this he may be given suggestions to
practice and then g iven another audi tion later. After the one
note is gi ven then tvlO no te s are struc k , u su e.lly be g inning
with a ma jor third with the applicant being asked to sing
the uppe r note.

1. Kettring ; op. cit.


15

Then t \vo notes are s tru ck to g ether and the applicant is

e.sked to s ing the lovrer note. This v!lll dete r min e '.·.rh ether

he has the to ne dis cri minat ion to discern the h a rmony notes

in c h or a l s ing i ng , r ather th an me r e ly the me l odi c line.

Th r ee notes e re struc k to e.: ether a nd the app l i c ant is asked

to s ing the middle note. This a i ds in deter minine his a bi l-

ity to sta y on a n insi d e voic e part s uc h a s first b e ss, second

t enor , first a lto and second s opr ano.

The a ppli c an t then s i ng s a d i atoni c s c a l .e as h i g h or low

a s desir e d to disc over the best tone s in his or ~ er rang e.

I t is not ne ces sary to sing to the li mi ts of t h e ran~ e . It is

not th e .,,ridth of the r ang e th a t ls lmportent but the quality

of the b es t tones vri t hin t h e r a ne:e. For p l a cement in the

pr oper voic e p art the quality an d not the range is t h e pr i mary

de t e r mininf f a ctor. Thi s mu st be obss rved in p r a ctic e f or

a p ossible c h a n g e or stra i n ing of the voic e n ecessita tes a

change to a more co mfort able p a rt for the s inger . Th e voi ce

quality s houl d be no t ed a s t o 1-1h eth er it is n as a l, f luty ,

re e d -l i k e, r a s p y , etc.

Th e size of the voic e j_s d e ter mined by volume , l a r ge ,

medi u m or sm a ll. Tremo l o a n d any other f a ctors wh ich mi g h t

concern ensembl e ou a lities a re noted.


For rea d ing abi lity an unf a mili a r h ymn is u sed having
t he app lic an t r e ad the v a riou s p ~ r ts. 1 •
Aft er the vo·c a.l au d ition , th e d ir e cto r and ~ pp lic an t

t hen dis cuss the findings . If the d ire cto r fee ls he c a n no t

1. K ettr~ ng ; ~bla
lb

accep t the app lic ant he tells h i m why and all reasons ar e
d i s cus sed openly. If he is sui t able fo r a ccep tance into
the ch oir then the dire ctor emphasises the i mportfince of the
ch o ir . He expl a ins the n ece ssity for fait hfulness to re-
he.a rs a ls and perfor me,nc e s and the by-laws a.re sta ted as to
pur p ose an d func t ion. It is often he l pfu l if the a c cepted
applicant is a ccompanied to the fi r st rehe ars al by so me ch,air
member. This make s it easier for the new member . The c h oir
me mber who a ccompani e s h i m to rehearsal intro duces him to the
ch oir members , the robe manager , libra ri an, etc., \vho will
provi de him with music, robe and a p l a ce in the ch oir.

2. BreathinE

Nor me,llJr me.n br ee, thes without G.ctually think i nE how or


\vhy he is br e a thing. He g i ves it very little thought until
one day he dis covers he lik es t o sing . Upon co ming under
the instruction of a vo ice teache r or choir di r e ctor he
soon learns that to s i ne correctly is to bre athe corr e ctly.
His attention i s fo c used on the manner i n wh ic h he inha les

and exha les a,nd how to sus te.in and release the breath 1:1hich
,,fill t; i ve him the prop e r t one and co ntrol of vole e.
17

"Ma n breathes to k eep a norm a l supply of


oxygen in th e blood stre am and to elimina te
c a rbon dioxide. I n sine:ing he must lea rn to
u se the l eas t amount of oxygen and at the
same time crea te t he greate st nmount of
ene rgy that will tr e v el in vibrations 1
from h is body at the speed of sound. " ·

Bre a thing co nsists of t h ree functions. The first is

i n spiration or the t ak ing of a ir into the lungs; se con d is

t ~e retention or holding the air in a sta t e of suspension;

and t h ird is expiration or expeling the air from t he lung s.

The diaphragm is a sinev1y substance '.d th povrerful mus-

cles vlhich controls brea.thing . It is dome-shaped mak ing a n

a irti ght par titi on betv·reen t h e abdomen and the thorax. It is

surrounded by the ribs I·J hic h move out vrar d ,..; 1 th the a ction of

t he d ia.phragm . Ii i th the ins pi r a tion of e a ch b reath the ribs

are ex t ended and t h e a bdomen is expanded without rai s i ng the

shoul de rs. The r e tention, or h ol d ing of the bre ath , c a n be

developed by v arious e xe rc ises . One in particul e.r v1hich has

been found useful is e asi l y p ra.c ti ced any,,.rh ere. ;~n ile

walking , inha le slo,1ly a s four steps are tak en . Retain

th e brea t h wh ile taking four more steps . Rele a se t~e bre a th

slowly and evenly whil e t eking: · four more steps . This c a n be


done quite effec ti v e ly wh il e v-ra l k i ne: a t a moderate r a te.

As the lung c apa city incr ea ses rai:s e the number of step s to

five, six, etc.

-,r--- - - II
1. J. Finely Willi a~s on; Correct Breathi ng Etude
Februe_ ry 1951
18

Exp ir ation, or rel eas ing of t he breath, is the most

d ifficult s i n ce the air has a tendency to escape too qui c k ly

rithout being controlled. It is necesr,e.ry to have abs olute

co ntrol and to emit the bree,th g r a dually 9,nd e v enly. It

is the control of the br e ath and not t he amount used that

determines the streng th of the tone.

It is the br ea th under c ontrolled p r essure w~ich g ives

the voice full , clear tones. Breath must not rush out but

must a c t iv a te the voc a l cord s t o Eive a n even smooth t one .

To phr 8s e He l l the singer must le ern to me a sure t o phr g se

with the eye, n o t a s notes but a s co mplet e thouEhts or sen-

tences. He must ration br ~a th , especi a lly for ends of p hr a ses

wher e the coll apse of breath gi ves B jerkey sen sation to the

notes an d often ruins t h e cli max of a .song.. He must le arn to

take q uick br ea ths nois e l essly, without r a i sing the shoulders

or d isturbing thro a t, ja.1v , or t ongue. The c a tch- breath is

used for c arryi ne: over lon£ phr ase s vfhere no break is de-

sired.

In ensemble sing ing s ta g 8e red bre ath i ng is emp lo yed to

give P continuou s flow of Eelody . This af for ds the s inEing

of long p hr a ses 'rli th t "1e e:ffe c t that the choral g roup as a

whole is not breathing throu ghout.


11
Davison sa.ys for choral breathing to, Breathe n a tur a lly,

deepl y , and often. ul.


1. Da vison, Arc hiba~ld, Choral Cond ucting Harv a rd University
Pr e ss 1 940 pp .60
19

To obtain the bes t br eath control with choral gr oups it is

necess ary tha.t they have the proper posture wh ile s ing ing. .

vihen seated the singer shoul d pl!l ce both feet squ a rely on

the floor v.ri th the back strai ght and a viay from the back of the

chai r. They should sit er e ct with the fe e ling of lift ing

t he:n sel ves from the c hair. The singers v1ho fin d difficulty

in bree.thing correctly c an prac ti ce the followin g exercises a t

h o me . Lie fl a t on the floor with t h e back touching the floor,

then r ai se the kn ees keep i ng the feet touchi ng the flo or.

Aft e r being abl e to k eep the ba c k straight throu g h this exer-

cise stand with the back flat agains t the wall. This p osition
1
and p o sture ivill almost defy incorrect br eath ing . ·

Obs e rve a baby sleeping and see h ow t he abdomen e xpands

while bre a t h ing . This is the correct vray of breathing and can

be cop~ successfully vli th p r a. ctice.

3. Read ing
iii th the number of rehearsals USURl l y limite d to one
per we ek and the a c tual r ehearsal ti me crovrded vd th det<:dls,

t he director finds himself at a loss for t i me to d rill his

choir in re a ding. It takes time to d o a t h orou gh job in

te a c h ing re ading a nd th e averag e d i re ctor e"nd c h oir doe s not

have the time during rehearsal. Regardles s of the di rector's

g or ~ intentions for gi ving t he c h oir t he be st i ns truction he

c a n, he will fin d the chor a l lo e.d too heavy to i n clude ti ine

1. J. Fine l y Wi ll i ams o n ; " Correct Br e athing fo r S i ngers."


Part tvw - Etud e- March , 1 9 51
20

for a systematic dri lling of' the choir in read ing. techniques.
Ho>,.r ever, there are opportunities to appro a ch this problem
i ndirec tly.
In a community where t h ere is pri de in the public s chool
musi c pro gr am and vlhere priva te tea chers offer their pupils
theory as we ll a s technique the y ou~g pe ople will receive
tre.ining 1tfhich he l p in t he r eB.ding sk ill of choirs. Teaching
the young people to learn i:1tervals will develop musicianship
and this will ulti mately benefit t he adult choir.
If a person has a nor ma l music al e ar, _ goo d me!Tiory,
rhythmic sens e, average i ntelligence and pe rsist ance, and
1
li kes to sing then h e c .?.n l earn to r ea d mus ic • ·
For the adult ch oi r member who has had no opportunity
for~ for ma l instruction in reed ing music but ';rho v.ri s~e s to
i mprove his ebility to re ad , t h e dire ctor c an offer encoura ge-
ment and gi ve su cgesti ons for practice outside of rehearsal.
The s~umbli n g blocks in reading music a re co mp lex
rhythms or i n terva ls, or perhap s both. With the director's
he lp, the choir me mber should determine l'lfh a t his chief vleakness
is and then concentre.te on it. If it is rhythm then concen-
tr e- te on all typ es of rhythms. Practice b ee.tlng the rr. out,
eith er silently or intoning. Forget the wo r ds and tune and
just count and beat time.

1. Ke ttring ; op. cit.


21

If it is i n t ervals th en devise a mean s wh ereby t h e co mmon


l nte r v al s may be eas ily r ecognized. The fo llo v1i n g might be
he l pful i n mak ine a t ab le of inte rvals.
I n t erval of a is sung to t he opening
me a sure of:
maJ or thir t~ up------- - - -----Fro m a ll t ha t d\.;ell
ma jor thi rd 'down------ - -- ---He le a deth me
perfect fourth up-----------Away in a_ mang er ( Cr e.dl e Song )
perf ect fou rth do';m---------0 co me all ye faithful
perfect fifth up-------- ----0 God , t hy power (me lrose)
perfect fifth down----------St ar Spangled Banner
maj or sixth up--- - - ---------It c am e upon the mi dni gh t cl ear
Le arn to as soci a te the sound wi th the dist ance between
i nterv a l s . Forge t the me lo dy and concentrate on i nt erva.l s .
vihen f a i rl y certa..in of the i nte rvals then add the rhythm 2.nd
t h e \ovord s. Take a hymnal Emd practice re e.di ng all par ts of
v a rious hymns. This not only dev e lop s ability t o r ead
interva ls but 1dill ai d in ':'l e a ri ng ow:'l part i n h omophonic
.
s i nglng . l.
"I fi nd that s i ngers l earn to read by re ading .
If i nexperi enc ed peopl e ar e l ocated near a n
aggre ss i ve re ader, t he-y s oon 1 c a tc h on 1 , t=1.nd then,
too, in almos t ev ery rehe3rsa.l I f i nd th a t choirs
enJoy be i ng exrosed , for a f ew minu t es a t leas t,
to si~h t sing i ne of nevr music 1 ri gh t u p t o
tempo • This appeal s t o the ir sp orting sense
and sharpens f a cilitt, 'ln ov erc oming the proble ms
of re pd ing a t ei gh t. t2.

In summary, if the rehearsal t ime does not a llow for

drill on re eding then t h e director encoura e es outside p r a ct i ce


and offers pr a ctic a l sugge stion.
1. Helen Hosmer; " Te chni cs o f Choral Conducting 11
IJI . •
Etu de, Janu a ry 1 949
2. Kettr ing ; op . cl t.pp-.-172
22

The p ubllc s c h ool music progr am s e.:nd p ri v :.:t te t eachers e.re

i mp ortant in l eadine young v oic es to the correct p rocedur e s

of music rea d i ng .

Th e person with a verage music abi lity a nd talen t c a n

le Brn to re s d by se lf p r a cti ce and a g enuine e ff or t to lea.rn.

4. Attributes of Chorister

The choir member must have many qualities if he is to

b e of value t o the choir. For a church choi r the first

quality he mu st have is spiri tua l. He must love church

music and church sing i ne . He beco mes a lmost a sp e cialist

in church singing , for music, as we ll a s reli g ion, c annot

be s e par ate d fro m its s urroundings. He must be loya l. He

must re co gnize the au t hority of the conductor and want to

be of s ervice to the choir and the c hurch as we ll as to

ga in eelf- s e tisf a c t ion. He will mak e the c h oir hi s p rimary

int eres t ove r e.ll outsi de a ctivi ties which mi gh t co n flict.

If he be comes neglieent and c hronic a ll y a bsen t h e shou l d be

drop p ed from t he c h o ir. No member is indisp en sa ble.

He must have s ome mus i c al ability. It is n o t necess a ry

to be a tr a.ined mu s1. cl an or f'o loi st. He must h a v e t h e de-

sire to l earn a n d he should t ake constructiv e criti cism

in s trid e. He must n ot beco me self-satisfied. "Complete

self-satisfaction is the sure s t sign of incomp etence." 1

l . Nich ol son; op. ci t . pp. 1 02


23

The choir member mu s t be sociable with many different


persona lities and v ar ious te mperamen t s . It is a joy to be
a memb er of a choir which is s oci abl e a s well as united
music ally. The fun had a t choir parti es and pl cn1cs wil l
make the choir a mor e clo se ly knit unit and wi ll make working
t ogether more p l ea sur a.b le.
The goo d ch oir member \<fill e.ttemp t to i mprove h is vo-
c a l tech..'1iques, his reading a.bi li ty and his diction. He wi ll
a tt empt to blend h is voic e ~ ith the choir or section. He will
be coop erati ve, we ll ma nn ered , even tempered, an d above all a
devout churchm an.
CHAPTER III

Musical Expression
1. Tempo, rhythm
It is necess ary to distingui sh between the terms
11
. rhytl1.m and tempo to understa.nd fully their function. Rhy thm
is order of movement," 1 a control of accents and str es ses
which fall periodic ally throu ghout a muslcal composition.
Tempo is the degree of speed a t vJhich a music a l co mposition
i s played or sung . ''Tempo re f ers to the speed at which the
beats a re taken. " 2 Both 8.re needed t o mak e music move
for \var d at an even a.11d orderly pace. Perfect ti me vri thout
rhythm will only de ad en the mu sic •
. Si nce rhythm is "order of music'', t h e a ccents and
stre s ses of both r egu l ar and irregul ar pa ttern s must be
under perfect control. Ea ch phr as e shoul d r ec ei v e dis-
tinc t t reat ment to prop erly cl arify its execution. There
should be a contrast of strong and weak a ccen t s . These
should not be bold and ri gid but li k e poetic al pulsa t ions
ad ding to the aesthetic cont en t of the music.
The way to manag e the rhythm of a mu s i c a l selecti on
is to preserve the s ense of the ti me signature. If it is a

1. Ev eret t Titco mb; Anglican- \·iiy~- · H . i'i . Gra.y Co., Inc.,


(New ~ork 1954 ) pp . 31
2. Krone, op. cit.
25

4/4 time signature then kee p it at that and do no t let

it change to 2/2 or faster or s lo wer beat. d odify the

rhythm b y use of ac c en t s , s v;ells a nd de l icate dynami cs.

Watch for eccents on other th a n f i rst beats. The accent

is not a l ways on the first beat. Pl a ce a strong ac c ent on

notes leading up to a doubl e forte cl imax. Gi ve sync o p ated

notes a firm be a t. Sust a ined no tes or repeated notes

may be sung with cr escendo when end i ng on a hi g her note

or strong beat. A note on a di s sonance, especially a

melodic note, may need e mphasis to distinguish it from the

chor dal structure. When sing ing tripl et s the . flrst note

is a cc e nt e d t o bring out the rhythmic pulsation.

In sing ing it is ne a rly always ',vise to te.k e weight

from the weak b e a t. " Sing e rs sh oul d f Ua rd a g ainst stressing

strong s yllab l es , and be c nr e ful to take weight fro m t h e

ligh t, p a rt icul ?.rly in fin e.l syll a bles." 1 This is es-

p ecially true when sing ing pla in s o ng or chants.

Since temp o is the d egr e e of s p eed a t wh lc h mu si c is

p l ayed or sung , we must know how to d etermine 1,vh a t is the

corr ect te mpo with each musical selection.

Muc h musi c 1 s E).ven a metronomic mark ins by the com-

pose r which ind i. c a te s the specific t emp o at . _.,rh:tch the

song is to be p erforrn dd. These marking s a re f ound at t h e

l. Titcomb, op . cit,; pp.32


26

beginning of the :nus:lc a t the upper left hand side of the


pag e. For example a marking might be foun d li ke this:
11
:M . ~v'l .J=72 11
which me a ns there \vill be 72 beats per minute
with the indic a ted quarter note receiving the be a t. 1
Supposing the music does not h ave a me tronome ma rk-
ing. How is the tempo to be determined?
Besides the specific me trono me me.r kings a t the be-
g inning of the music there are also tempo markings indi-
cate d by Ita li a n words such as andan te, presto, allegro,
etc •••. or they may be in the native language of the com-
poser. To shov1 ho>v the \vords end the me trono me ma rkings
·indicate the tempo, the follo wi ng cha rt ha s b een drawn to
help cl a rify them.

1-1 . 1\1] . :42-69 69- 96 96-125 125- 153


Ene:lish:Very slow Les s Slow Fairly slow Moderate
ItP..lian :Largo LA.rghetto Adagi o Ands.n te
153-183 183-208
Fast Very fast
Al legr o Presto
Another means of det ermining the t empo is to read
and stu dy t he text ,,vhi ch ~ti ill usu al ly suggest the spiri t
of the music. By knowing the spirit of t h e words the sui t-
able speed c an often be determ ine d. After t h e text is

1. M. M. r e f ers to Maelzel 's metrono me , from the name of the


inventor in 1816 .
27

thorou ghly stud ied, a c a reful examination of the music

will show whether e.t the select ed tempo there a re a n y passages

wh ich wo ul d be sung t(J!) quickly. 'rhe tempo should only be

as fast a s the quickest notes can be clearly a nd distinctly

executed.

Te mpo c a.n never be t h e r esu lt of s teadfast rules.

The e r ea ter the nu mber of performer s, t h e l arger the

auditorium, th e slower within reason, is the t empo. " Relative

t emp o is the a ll i mp ortant matt e r in the exe cution of a

p iece. 111

Chan g ing of te mpo wittout g oo d re a son shoul d be a-

voided. Do not chop rhythmic content into p iec es . ·~vh en

si ng ing ritar dandos b e sure to sl o w u p gr adu a lly with ea ch

succeeding no te being slower t han t h e preceding note. The

o pposite is true for accellera.ndos. Do not stop or s t a rt

sudd e nly.

After mak ing a rit ardan d o be sure to return to the

ori ~ in al te mpo. The tendency is to s lo w up a fter e a ch

r i tardand o. Do not s low u p on pianissimo or d i m inue ~d o

pa ssa.g es unl e ss the y are sp ec ifi c a lly marked. .i.V1any choirs

tend to slow up just because they s i ng softly. The tempq

must be k e p t con s t a nt unless t he mu s ic i s mark ed aiiferently.

1. Mathias M. Luss e y; Nu s ic Etl Expression Nov e llo, Ewen


& Co., (Lond on and New York
fourth ed iti on 1 892 )
28

The director's o wn jud~ement as to correct tempo b ased

on his experience, k no wledg e of music, and EOo d common

sense, will be the fin a l cr i t eria . There e.r e tr adi tiona l

wo r k s, h oweve r·, '..rh ich have a def inite, . traditional tempo

of vh ich the di rector must be aware.

2. .J2ynam1-cs

There is a rel a tion between forte and pi ani s s imo.

Do not sing either one or the other a ll t h e ti me but vary

t h e us age of forte a nd pi a ni ssimo to cre a te co n tr as t

p lea s i ng to the ear.

The 11
sw e ll 11 i s the b as is of most d ynami c and emo-

tiona l aspe cts of tona l co l o r ing . Under the swell comes

crescendo a nd decrescendo which are used f or si ng le notes

or long phrases. In ea ch comp o s ition ther e is but one big

cli ~ax . The singer should work towa r d s this cli max re-

serving his force until t h e righ t ti me for the e f fe c ti ve

finale.

Each singer in a ch oir or chorus must be conscious of

his dynamic level especi al ly in p i a ni ss i mo pa.s sage s. If

he s ing s too loudly the per s on ne a r him will uncon s ciou s ly

r a ise his level s o t h a t t h e over all dynam ic level is r a ised

'''i t h out s o des iri ng . One vra.y to a c h ieve a de lic a te pi ani ssimo

pas sag e is to b eg in a s oft pass ag e u s ing only half th e voice~

adding other voices as the dyna mic level is raised.


29

The crescendo expresses rising sentiment which is re-


garded as the first part of the swell. The diminuendo ex-
presses a lowering of spirit which is the last part of the
swe ll. The fo l lowing diagram illustrates the relation
of sound with quality.
Progress of sound from pianissimo tov forte:

In r egard to the diagram, there rnus t be a steady


pressure in all levels of volume. The director should
learn where eAch level lies with regard to his specific
choir. Dynami c levels are rele_ti ve. When the ear is
used to hearing a very soft pass age any degre e of forte
will so~no loud.. A gradation of dynamic levels should be
made for ea ch pert i cul a r choral gToup. Young voices c a n-
not re a ch the same level of forte as tha t of more mature
voices.
11
F'ind your fortis s i mo and then work f or other
rel a.ti ve s hadine::s dmvn to t h e pi ani ssimo.
Itflountains only appe ar h!gh through comp a rison
v-1i t h the lower ground. 11

1. Krone; op. cit.


30

Hazards to -...ra tch for in mainta ining a. s t ead y d yn ami c


l ev e l a.re: irree:ula.r br ea th to voc a.l cords: men tal
a ttitu de (un cert 8inty of notes, i n t e rv als , etc.) emotion-
a l re a c t ion of si nger (e x citemen t, pressure): melodic
line (s k ipp ing int erv a ls, long phrases): di str ac t ions
(au dience, orchestra , d aydre am ing). These are co mmon
f aults and c an be overcome by mental alertness and s trict
at t ention to t he dire ctor.
Practicing v arious dyna mic levels wil l aid in pre-
p a ring the mental e.tti tu de for phys ic a l effort. 5u c h ex-
er c i s es mi ght include chanEing fro m one d ynam ic level a t
the end of one phr a se to a loude r level a t the beginning
of anothe r ph r ase . Having the v arious voic e p arts i n t u rn
r aise t h eir tone for a few measu re s while keeping the
oth er voice parts const an t. This i s espe ci all y e ffective
v1i t h subordinate p arts. 'l'he group a s a. \vh ole shoul d learn
t h e degrees of dyn am ic lev el as given in t h e above diagram.
Wi th each person realizing the leve l of volume de sired,
it is a simple mat ter for the di rector to obt a in the pro-
per level of dyn ami cs throughout the p iece.
Sinc ing forte shoul d be done dis cri min e te l y a t re-
h eg_rs a l, s ince loud singing not only forces and. tires the
voice but tends to encourag e too loud s i nging outside the
31

rehearsal room.

Varying the p ower of tone on a note or group of notes

is called shad i ng. The e a r demands v a riety. The co m~ on

11 11
axiom in singing is to do s omething with a long note.

The melody ap p earing in d ifferent voice parts mus t be

brought out by shading. The part carrying the melod y

shoul d be a s one solo voice with the o ther parts sub-

ordinated to its delivery. I n po lyphonic mu si c the

equality of voice parts is preserved but acc e ntu a tion is

made on the announcement of subJects, p oints of i~ita.tion,

e t c., \.vhere they occur throughout the mu sic.

Proper balance of dynamic levels between voice par ts

is the di rector's responsibility. Mu sic without dynamic

markings must be s ung as the peri od in which t he musi c was

wri t ten would imply. Before the director can gi v e a sat-

isfactory r e a d ing the notes, tex t, a nd co mposer must be

understoo d .

Th.ere are p l a ces in mu s ic v1h ich u s uily c a l l for a

dyne.:ni c c hange. Repeated notes , or long notes , are sung

either lou de r or softer de p ending on the co n t ext. Two


notes to a syll able finds the first recelving e.. slight

a ccen t. Usually, as ce nd in g and des cending lines are sung

v.ri th the as cen ding line being g lven a cre scendo and the

des c end i ng line a de cr escend o. A h a r monic cli max often

c alls for an increase in volume, The me l odic , h a.rmonic,


32

rhythmic, and textual f a cts should be examined before de-


ci ding how much i n crea se is neces sary, if at a ll. In
polyphonic music each canonic entra nce is on t h e same
level, with other voice part s softening enough for each
entr8nce to b e h eard distinctly.

3. Blend
- --- a nd
- Balance
Church ch oirs often avoid any attempt at bala.nce for
fe ar of hurting so meone' s feelings •. However, if the
di rector is tactful he c an treat the voices in such a
manne r that the individual will not be aware of any direct
criticism.
'rihen the director detects one outste.nd ing voice he
ca.n work 11ri th the section by ask ing each pe rson to sing

t h e !late a·s · he · 'points tci ·.them. By leaving the p erson who is


erring until several othe r people have been a sked to sing
and then bringing in that pe rson's voice and balgncing his
voice \d th the other voic es , the di rector c an smooth over
t he trouble spot without direct criticism.
11
The position of a voi ce in a chord and its relation
to the other voices in tha t ch ord govern how well that voice
\vill be heard. ul

1. Fl nn; op. cit.


33

For example, if a chor d has the bass voice in a low reg-

ist e r it will not be heard unles s the other voices soften in

proportion. In the opening me a su res of the chorus " Worthy

is t he Lamb 11 fr om Handel's Ivles sia h, the a lto voice is in

a low regist e r while carrying t he melody. By ad ding the

tenor voices to this pas s ag e the melody is clearly heard

and the b a l an ce is f a r s uperior.

Bala:nce is often jeopardized by too much treble. The

up per voices are more easily h e a rd since their vibrations

are at a higher frequency. Bass voic es a r e the most

difficult to hear due to their low r egi s t e r and s low vi-

brations. In a choir wher e the male voices a,re outn u mber e d ,

the treble voices shou ld be softened t o balance with the

male voices. "Gauge the p r oper amplitude of one notebly

bro a d voice by the amplitude of t'1vO norm a l li ght voices. "1

I n choirs wh ere there is a l a c k of tenor vo i c es s u p p ort :nay

be given to the tenor part by ad d ing a lto voices to vit a l

passages .

4. In-tona.tion
- -----
In tonat ion is the mEmner in whi c h mu si c a l t ones are

produ ce d - in relation t o their key or harmony. When a tone

de v i a tes f rom this key or harmony it is said t o be flat or

1. Finn; op. c1 t. pp . 168


34

sharp. There a re specific causes wh ich tend t o let the

voice vary in pitch. A choral singer should always keep

his mind alert with his a ttention focused on the director.


11
A choir which is in a musical gro ove 11 becomes so

accustomed to one key that inter es t is lost and the tone

wanders . The e a r becomes trai ned to be a ring t he same pitch


11
a nd a s a. result the singer g e t s into a gr oove 11 • By putting

a side on overly sung p iece for awhile or changing the k ey

the monotony of one pi tch will be broken.

Extreme heat in the rehearsal room or a uditorium will

affe ct the intona tion. The absorpti on of tones by the

sorroundings wi ll make it more d ifficult to stay on pitch.

Draps, c ur t ain s, and sound p roof rooms deaden the sound so

th a t t h e overtones are not heard.

Fatigue causes poor intonation. The singer should be

in rested cond ition, both ment all y and physi c a lly.

Poor tone production, diction, and breathing are causes

forfiatting . The music shoul d be i n a key wh ic h suits the

tes s i tura of t he voic e s. I f one voice part li es in the

break of the voice a change of key would be in ord er . ~~ihen

singing pi a nissimo passages , a su fficient supp ly of breath

is necess a ry to e voi d dr opp i ng the p itch. In music with s low

passages and sustoined notes, breath s upport must be kept

constant. Th e phrase should have a feeling of movement.


35

Small rooms or larg e rooms with low c eilings cause

f l a tti ng , especially in e i n ging polyphoni c music. The

room s houl d be reson ant s o the tone can tr a vel.

Places to wat c h for fl a tting a re t~e hi gh note a t the

top of ascend ing melodies, intervals from lo w to hi gh part

voice, recurrin ~ intervals, des c ending melodies that turn

up for resolution, and sustained tones \vhere th e bre ath is

not p roperly supp orted.

Ca uses for sharp ing are over anxie ty, exces s ive effort,

and tension, both mental and physical. Of these, tensi on

is p robabl y the chief c ause for sharp ing. There a.re many

types of tension. If a singer is t ense a bout hie. voice ,

t he voc a l ap p a ratus will ti gh ten c ·a u s ing the voice to

r aise i n pit ch. Ten s ion will set the entire body in a

sta te of nervou s excitement, c ~ using the mental a ttitu d e

to s har p en a long with the tone. Tens ion between the choir

and directo r will c a use anxiety a nd nervbusnes s . The di r-

ector shoul d never lose his s ense of humor over t h e p oor

singing o f his choir member s. Ov e r vmrk and ov e r endu r a nce

of the choir, causes fraye d nerves for both d irector and

choir. " Music a l harmonies require harmony in the choir

and between the choir and their co ndu ctor."l

1. Krone; Op Cit.
36

Over vi.brato i n a voice c a uses B fluctu a tion of

pi t ch . Ov e r singi n g in too r esona nt a roo m c a.u s e s t h e pitch

to rev e rberate. An indivi du a l Bppro a.ching not e s from b e -

lo w or a bove t h e p itch a nd s l idi ng into the corr e ct p itch

pulls t h e choir off pitch. In a p p roac h ing n o tes whether

h i gh or lo vv , think menta lly above the note. Physiolo g ic a l

a n d ment a l f a ctors mu s t coop er a te.

To tune the choir for corr e ct i nt on a tion use a 440-A

p i t c h p ipe . Th e sopranos should s ing a g iven pitch tuning

e a ch voice in turn. The b a sses s houl d then s i ng t wo oc taves

b elo w, tuning e a ch voice. The f irst tenor and s econd a lto

si ng t h e oc tave be t we en t h e b asse s and s op r a nos. Second

sopr a no s a nd second t enors s ing t h e fift h of t he c h ord with

t h e first a ltos a n d b a ritones s ing ing th e t hird of the

c h ord . As t h e i n nt er i n te r val s a re b e i ng added the unison

octa ves shoul d be c he c ked t o mak e c er t a in they ar e in tune.

The i n terv a l of the t h ird should be wa tc he d for flatting

and t he i n terval of t h e f if t h for s harping .l

Genera l c a uses f o r f latti ng are: Lac k of br e ath control;

p o s t u re; for war d focus of t one; thinking hi eh v1hen appro a ching

notes; and f a ti gue, physic a l, voc a l, and psyc h olo g ic a l.

Ca uses for shar p i ng a r e over anxiet y , exces s ive effort,

a n d ten s ion.

l. J. Finely W1l ll ams on; "Ke ep y our c h oir up to pitch."


Etude Dece mber 1950
37

CHAPTER IV

The function of the or g a nist c an never be over em-

phasised . It is t h e or gani s t v.rho c a rried the responsi-

bil ity of the worship service. He is the be gi nning o f the

service, t h e link of unity throue:hout t he service, and t h e

final part of service. He is the key fi gure whi ch c a n

make a serv i ce run in a smooth ma nner.

Exam ina tion of e a ch pha se of the org a nist 1 s several re-

s p on s ibili ties will aid in understanding wha t a 'tremendous

t ask he ha s and will, also, g ive insi gh t into how to ob-

tain the maximum eff icienc y in the worship s ervice.

Th e org a nist opens t he service with th e p relude. "The

prelude is a mean s whereby t he or ganist , follo wing in the

trac k of t h e co mp oser~ f c an bring himself to be a r up~r +he


. ul
cong re g a.t 1on. Th e congr egation is made u p of v ar ious

ages , moo ds , and emotions. The organ p relude, v.;h ich is

mu sic without words, influ e nces the moo ds of the c ongrega-

tion and dire cts thei r tho ugh ts tow a rd worship. Th e p relude

then mu s t be of s uch c har ac ter as to a ttr a ct and hol d the

individu a l a tt en tion wi thou t g iving t he i mpr e ssion of being

too technical and too l earned. Abov e all it must not be an

exhibition of tec h nic a l sk i ll that woul d dr aw the a tten tion away

fro m the musi c to the perfo rmer. It i s no t a ti me for s olo

1. Vla.l do S . Pratt; r-1us ic e l I~in ist ries in the Chur ch


G. Schirmer TNewYork & Lond on-;-4.th
edition 191 5 )
38

performing, in the strictest sense of the word. Leading the

congre 3ation to worship is the primary purpose and it must not be

for go tten. The organist c a n heighten the be a uty of the wor-

ship service or can destroy it entirely.

The p relude should be of su ch importance that it is

played a fter the c ho ir and minister have t aken their

pl a ces f o r t he service. Where p roces s iona ls a re used this

makes is impossible. In many churches the cholr enters

without p roces s ing and therefore coul d come in before the

p relude so that the entire service would begin with the pre-

lude. Too often the prelude is just so much added confusion

amidst the t a lking of the cong re.g ati on as they greet one

another and exchange topics of the pa st vreek. The p relude

is the p re paration for worsh ip and should be heeded.

The congre 6 ation should remain seated until the post-

lude is finished. If the prelu de bBg ins the service the

postlude should end the service. A postlude often serves

only as a cover up for the congre c a tion as they depar t in

a "hum-drum" of speech. T~e close of the service is just

as i mp ortant as . the beginning. If the congre g ation would re-


mainseated until the postlude is finished it would afford

an excellent opportunity for quiet introspe ction.


39

If the organi s t is conscientious he has selected and

practiced wi t h care the p reludes and p ostludes and de-

serves to be heard.

The s upp ort of co ng r~ gati onal singing is a most im-

p ortant function of the or gani st in the worship service.

The manner in which the hymns a re introduced, played, and

i n ter p retated by the . organist influences the way in which

the co ngre.e;ati on will respond. The organist must be a ble

to p l a y every hy:nn in a ny hymnal · ;:.: orrec tly and expertly.

The ore:an leads the co ne;regatio!l so it must s ound full and

confident. The ree::istration must be clea r and r es ona nt to

affbrd suppo rt for the congregation. Alteri ng of the harmony

should be done with c a re. I nt e rludes and ch ange of k ey in

hymns shoul d be done discri minately and should al wa y s observe

consistency in key and defini teness in ti me.

For c h or a l respon se s it is the organist's du t y to gi ve

out cl ear i n troduction s , They may be short phr ases or

just c ho rds. Alertnes s and proper temp o are i mp ort a nt.

If the service is mo ving alon r: in brisk Ta.nn e r then the

re sponses should sound full and vib ren t. The opposite is

true \vhere t h e mo od of the servi c e is slow and more del ib-

erate. A lou d and lengthy r e sponse woul d not fit after a

pastoral p rayer where the mood in p re d ominantly so mber but

would be a ppropri a te fo llo wing a p r ayer of adorat ion and p raise.


40

The or ganist 1 s abi lity to a cco mp a ny is a primary

p rereq_ uisite for church work. This includ e s congre ga tional

hymns, choir. a nthems , solos , and responses. It is the

org a nist 1 s resp onsibili ty to know vlha.t k i nd of a cco mpani ment

shoul d be used for v a rious typ es of music. Accompaniments

co u l d be cl assed in two types ; the support, whi c h is for

congre ga tiona l singine: , anthems , etc., and the adornl!'ent

type wh ich is e mbellishing t he mu si c by i mpro ~ is a G l O! l S ,

c e s CPll Gs , etc. The ad ornment type gi ves inter e st and

v s.ri ation t o stands.r d a cco mp an i ment ·s. . This must be done

with c a r e and only by a capable or ganist or it c a n lead to

dis a ster.

Free embroi der ing should be tastefu l and not over done.

The size of the org an , the a rc hi t e cture of t h e church, size

of choir and s anctuary, a ll determ ine wha t c an and · c annot

be d one.

Th e organist unites t h e s ervice into a whole by the use

of i nte rlud es between various st e p s of t h e order of worship.

These should h a ve a d efinite f orm. · If they a re impro vised

the org:mist should be cer t a in they ar e const an t in k ey,

move with out j umps or skips, and a r e c a refully selected for

a def inite pur p o se . In many pl a ces in t h e s ervice absolute

silence is more e ffect i ve than any k i nd of orge.n i n terlu des .


41

The org a nist is often ~is led as to the a mount of or-

gan that is heard by the choir, the congregation, and him-

self. In mo st churches the organist cannot hear too v.rell from

the console and has to e:u ess a t the correct registration f or

his p l aying. This should be corre cted, if p ossible. He

should mak e it his business to fi nd out how the organ sounda

from different places i n the san ctuary by hav ing an assis tant

p l a y his s ele cted registrations while h e listens fro m v e rious

p l a c e s. He could then mak e the necessary corr e ctions.

The organist mus t be a r eady reader. To a ccompa ny

an thems in rehears a l he must be able to read at sigh t if

ne ce ssary, and be a ble to play voice parts v.rhen placed on

wide spaced staves. He should be fami li a r with the sta ndard

an thems , c antatas, oratorios, and voc a l s olos.

In order t o be a c apable organi s t one must h a ve tr a in-

ing in org a n, church music, and well-rounded music al know-

l edg e. Dr. Clare nce Dickinson, e'Ilinent composer, or ganist,

and church mu sic instructor says, "Gener a l All-round musi ci a n-

ship is the ou a lity that has brough t richness into my life. 111

If the organi st is, a l s o, d irector, as he is in many

inst an ces, then he must k now the voice. If h e is just the

· or ganist and a nothe r person is the director of the choir than

his voc4 knowledge need not be as extensive but still should

include the basic t e c hn i que s of voice production for the

1. Alex~:mder g cCurdy; "Cl a ren ce 15Ickinson" Etude Iilia rch 1950


42

better underst anding of voc a l ac companiments.


A frequent weakness met with in the organist-director
stems fro m his serving in a du al cap a city. Often he will
be con c erned pri ma.rily wl th organ music and let the voc a l
musi c slip far below wha t coul d be acc ompli shed. He fre-
quently has little knowledge of chora l rep er toir e , voc a l
techniqu es, chor al dire cting, and lacks sympathy and und er-
standing for the voc a list. It is e a sy for t h e organist-
dir ector to be more inclined to be a soloist than an
a c companiest. However, there are mean s 1trhereby t he ore.anist
c an become tra.i ned i n a ll t hese ar eas . Colleg es and
Uni v ersities ar e offering courses in Church I•.~usic where
tr a ining is gi v en i n a ccompanyi ng , in chora l directing, and
in voice tr a ining.
Example s in successful or ganis t-director s , to mention
only a few, woul d be Dr. D:l. ck i ns on a t t h e Old Bric k Church
in New York City, David McKay Willi ams a t St. Bar tholo mew 's
i n New York City and George Faxon of St. Paul's i n Boston.l
The orga.ni s t should have good r ela.tions with his
director. If hi s c apacity is that of organist- di r e ctor h e
shoul d work well with the choir members, v.ri th t he clergy
and 'tl l th the entire church body. His music program must tie

1. See Chap ter VII for f urther d:tscus s ion on organist-


dire ctors as de termined from surve y .
43

in with t he reli gious and educational program of the church.


The same r equiremen ts apply t o the organis t- d irector in
his rel ationship t o the chur ch and its p ro gram as to t he
dire ctor. This is discussed in len gth in the next chap ter so
is omitted here.
In summary: The church organist should be a we ll-
rounded musician conscious of his part in the service of
worship and s ensiti ve t o the needs of the choir and congreg a-
ti on. He shoul d be an expert a ccompanist and he should be
able to pay any hymn in any hymnal. He shoul d be familiar
11rith the standard s a cred solo s , a::1thems , c anta t as and
ora tori~~.
44

CHAPTER V

The Conductor

1. Conducting

Before considering the conductor and the essentials

involved with a ctu al conducting let us ex amine the purp ose

of a, conductor. Every music8.1 group which endeavors to perform

in p ublic needs a so le authority •..rhich takes the responsibility

of organizing, tre.ining, and rehearsing the group until it

becomes a unit whose ulti mate a im is to render music to the

best of its abili ty.

In t he e grly days of g roup performa nces the so-c a ll e d

directing was done by o ne of the perf ormers mere l y giv ing

the pulsation with a scroll of par ch ment . 'l'he players of

the harpsic hord or pianof orte wou l d sound extr a notes to

warn singers of intonat ion and tempo. In the 18th century

the conductor at the Paris Opera House sat in a chair with

desk on the stage e.nd be e. t ti me 1vi t h a s tic k. These means

of keeping the perfor me rs t ogether ranged from the clapping

of hands to the stamping 6f feet and striking of sticks.

As styles ch anged a nd musi c became more polyphonic

t he necessity a rose for & visible person to keep each voice

part in time and to cue the nu me rous entrances. Soon the

conductor was d oing more than just keeping ti me . Rehearsals

brought the performers and the conductor int o a U YJ.i ted effor.t

and the cond uctor be{! a n to have 2. noticeable effect on · the

performers. 1'-'lu sic began t o take on feeling as the


45

thou ght s of the conductor t hrou gh his interpretive ges tures


were grf',sped by the perfo rmers. 'l'he inher en t emotional qu a l-
ities of the mus i c was brou gh t out by the conductor in this new
role and passed on to the liet ener. The co n ductor thus be-
came are- creator of the co mposer's musi c. It wa s his re-
s p on s ibility to knovr the music and the thoughts the co mp o s er
was trying to convey t hrough his musi c and to tr ansl a te them
for the perfo rm ers.
Conduc t ing is a many-sided art. The conductor must
gi ve unity to grou ps of singers or instrument a li s ts, unity
of rhythm, tempo, and phrB_sing, uni ty of brea thing, both for
singers and woo dwind the bra ss players , and unity of bowing
for string players. He must gi v e unity of expression, · thouEht,
emotion, and i mag ination. He mu s t giv e quality , contrast,
bal ance of tone, !llelodic prominence to ho mophonic music and
quietness to underlying h erm onies.

"Conducting is the art of conceivine; , exp ressi ng ,


a.nd conv eying to an audience, throu gh the rr.edi 1Jm
of the orchestr a (Ch orus), profound music con~ icti ons
a.s dev eloped in a noble soul and superior i n t ellect. 11 1

itw
'hen the purp ose of conductin[ in mind let us now go
to the individual who is the conductor.

11
1. Charles O'Connel; The Truth About Condu cting ", ii.:tude
Nov embe r 1950
46

2. Prereauisites for Conductor


The conductor must have a thorough bac kground in the
fundamentals of musi c. He mu s t have a keen e ar. This is
v e ry i mportant f or withou t it his efforts woul d be in v a i n .
A group whi ch performs with one voice p a rt the le a st bit
11
out of tune or off p itch" l-:a.s f a iled before i t ha s begun.
He must be able to det er mine whic h voice is ou t of tune
or which notes are being incorrectly sung or p l ayed a nd then
he mu s t know :now to correct it. That is vrher e t he knovl-
l e dg e of instruments and voice is ne cessary. If a. con-
ductor is able to he a,r m error a n d does not knorrr ho w to
corr ect it, he i s· los t . So li:hether the condu ctor is an
instrumentalist or voc e,li st , he mu st h~:we a vmrk ing kno\v-
l edge of both ar eas of p erformance.
The basi c rudi ments i n theory , counterpoint, an d h i story
of mus ic a r e " a mu st" if t he condu ctor is t o give the
proper and art is tic meaning to h i s mu si c o. l i n t er p r etat ions .
Theory en d counterp oin t are nece ss e.r.y for mak l ne: h i s own
B.r r angements end for the un derstanding of ·the music h e is
i nter p r eti ng . It also aids i~ det er mining ch or dal b a l an ce
and t one-coloring . Histo ry of music t: ives insi ght i n to t h e
l i f e of the c omp os er and the trends 1,rhi ch i n fluen ced his
styl e of co ~p o sition .

Score r eading and its memo ri za.t ion c ons titut es a heavy de -
47

man d upon th e conductor's ability. wnen glancing at an


orche stra l score he must be able to co mprehend al l the
part s v1hich ar e before him, in order to give t he sections t heir
proper cues and shadings. The voc al s core is much simpler
instructure but, nevertheless, the conductor has to be
able to r ead each part. Memo ry is ver y i mportant, for if
t he conductor has thoroughly le arned his music b efore pr e-
senting it to t he group he will have his task simplified
and he c an concentr a te on the perfor mance r a ther th an h aving
his he a.d buried in th e s core, " Score in h ead and not head
in s core."l
The mechanics of conducting a re learned q_uickly and

e a si ly by most a spiring conductors. This is a necessary but


not a difficult prere quisit e. Th e ru d iments of conducting

such a s t he typical and s t andardized ~ ~ ~PP of keeping


beats are merely me chanic a l movements v.,ri th ab solut e ly no
meaning exce pt as a ti me b ea ter. The art of conducting c an-

not be t aught except by one's self to one ' s s elf. Ea.ch


indi vidual has his mannerisms which he develops through

experience and expreience alone. The old adage that ex-


perj_ ence is the bes t te a chEr 1s c e rt glnly true in this c ase .

1. Hans Von Bulow; as cuoted in i;im. J. F'inn. ' s The Ar t


of t he Chor al Conductor, (Bo ston 1939 ) Vol.-I-
48

"The best conducting t e c hni c is t h a t v.'hich


a chieves the max imu m of musi c al result with
t h e mini mum of e ffort."l
Gestures should be held t o a minimum, ~nd th e con-
ductor shoul d avoi d the wild di spl e cement of bai.r and
a croba tic maneuvers. The ge sture s are meant for the pe r-
for mer s , not for the listener s .

" •.. I •• hJavedemphasized t h e pointhtbat purelv


per sona1 an a~tis tlc sense of t e cona uctor
must decide what i s correct a nd i n c orrect •••
Remember you gre not mak int.: music for your
ovm p le a sure but for the p le a sure of your
listeners." 2 . ·
It seems of little i mportance 1;;.s to 1nrhether or not

the baton is us ed . In orche stral condu cting it is al mo s t


a . h·i~ys used. The re ason be ing thA t it en ables the per f or mers
to see the movements of the condu ctor more readily.
\f~1.ether it be i ns trument e.l or cho r e.l condu c ting , t h e use
of th e baton is bas ed upon the size group and the pr e fer-
ence of the conductor. Howe ver, the use of the hands in
choral di recti ng fi ve s g r eater freedom in mo vemen t and c an

si gn e.l minute inst ru c tions i··ihich co n stitute a.r tistic and


highly speciglized mUs i c a l i nter p re ta tion.
The i mportant thin g to r em e ~nb er i s t hat no rr.a tt e r wha t
means of co nducting is us ed, t h e me chanic a l mov emen ts must

1. Fr itz Reiner ; Etu de, October- l95l


2. Rich 3.rd Str aus s ; "conducting. is a Difficult Business."
Etude ~4arch 1950
49

become second nature s o that the condu ctor can gi v e full

attention to h is g rou p and to the interpreta tion of the mus ic

and not be confined by thinkinc \·1rhich v.ray his hands or a r ms should

mov e. There is nothing !nore dis tr a c ting than to watch a

condu ctor l abor i nE over his gestures with his head buried

in the musi c.

3. Person a l Qualific ati ons

The mo st i mp ortant task for a conductor is either to

ha ve or to d e v e lop a pe rson!:tli ty of h is O':m v.rhi c h will re-

veal his qualities Bnd enable him to ma ke spont a neous

contact with h is g ro up. The g r ea test asset for a con-

du ct or is t o be able to devel o p self-control of thou gh t s ,

emotions, conduct and te mper . The condu cto r shoul d be open

to cr l ticism and sue:gestions a.n d shoul d not be e ed::i l y sat-

isfied so that his music beco mes stale. Thi s is a sure

s i gn of a p o o r co ndu ctor. He s houl d never re a ch t h e p oint

of fin a lit y but must keep wor king towards gradual i mprove-

men t. No metter how mgny times the mus ic is reh e ars e d

or sung it shoul d hav e vi ta. li ty and meanine. The con-

du c to r mu st strive to re-create what the co mposer and poe t


11
have put on paper , Mahl er . has said, Tr aditio:s. is onlythe
l azy man ' s excuse for not t h inkin[ for hims elf."

The condu ctor must be a le ader. It j. s true that the

l'lJa SF vdll follow a. le e,der 2nd 1 t helds tru e 1\ i t h the con-


50

ductor. He must have this qu a lity to ins p ire oth ers to

follo w inthe pa t hs of new ad v enture throuEh the medium of


11
music. The condu ctor p lus the re hea rsals equals the

c ho rus." l It is his res p on s ibility to s elect th e mus ic

th s t will demand attenti ve and co ns cientious effort on t h e

pa.rt of the performers. Th rough his l eadership h e must

cre ate the a tmo sphere of se lf- impro vement and 9.cco mp lish-

ment that will Eive the performer a feelin g of s a tisf a ction

and not wa st ed effort. He must be an educator and a te a c h er

impart ing through rehearsals and performance t he high

stand a rds and ap p reci a tion of t h e best there is in musi c.

His integrity must be of t he highest sort. It r hould

never have c a use to be questioned. His a uthority must be

su preme. It is his duty to pe rform thi s function to the

best of h is ab ility so as t o create a harmoni ou s feeling

between hi mself and the p e .:' f orme rs and betvreen the per-

for mer s a n d the lis t e ners.

4. · Conductor and Chair Director


Hav ing di s cu ssed the condu ctor in gene r al l e t us now

focus our thou gh ts on the choir d ir e ctor. To distinguish


between t he t':;o , conductor ana c h oir dir ector, I she.ll de-

fine each a nd t h en referen ce will be mry de a ccordi ngl y.

1. Ho smer ; op. cit.


51

"The conducto r 1 s the mu sic c:;l head of a choral Eo-

cie ty , or orch e stra, "'rho prepares a.nd conducts t he p erfor-

m~n c es thereof, while the d i rection of t he affairs is

handled by officers and commi ttees.

The cho i r director is on e who drills a nd condticts the

performan ces of a churc h choir i n Ameri ca. 11 1

From this point of refe r ence let us g o to the choir

dire ctor spe cific Glly and h i s pe rt in the music of the

church.

5. The Choir Dire ctor

In t he field of church musi c, particularly in the

directin£E of church mu sic , there is a tendency to o verlook

the necessity for well tr o ined musici a ns when the musi c

co mmittee, or whoever is r e sponsible for the hiring of the

director , sets its v a lu es an d oualifications for t h is most

imp ortant function in the c hurch.

Grantin g that some chu rch a r e of sm a ll membership

a nd theref ore cannot a ffor d the sal ary for a full time

minist er of music, it s hould s till be a ser ious ma tter to

select the per son •·-·ho wlll l e a d the churc h music p rogram

and vJho will be directly r e sponsible for the wo rship of G·od

through music.

1. F. vi . 1·i odell; Choir and Chorus Conducting, (Phila de lphia


3rd edi t ion 1909 )

:. - .;- '
.... . .- ._.__-. __ -_-
52

I n our l a rger churc he s we fin d a we ll fiti a nced musi c

bud g et with a f ull tim e minist er of music to handle t h e

entire mu si c p rogr am . In th e tot a l picture this is a nex-

cep tion rather tha.n a rule : : ince mo st of our c hur c hes ar e

not l a rge enough or wealthy enoue:h to af f ord this fine mean s

of le ader ship. I n mo st church e s the choir dire ctor is a n

amateu r mu sici an who d oes this job as h i s contribution to

the church a nd co mmunity vrhile h ol ding so me other full ti me

emp loyment . This ls a very co mmendable g esture on his o r her

part but i t is not e nou gh unless t he pe~son is a s highl y

qualified as the c i rcumst a nces will permit .

Le t us therefo r e loo k into the q u a lifi cati ons a c h oir

dire ctor shoul d have.

In the be g inning of this c hapt er the p ersonal quali-

fic a ti ons of the condu ctor were dis c ussed. The se same

q u a lific a tions, mo dified so rnev.,rha.t fro m the p rof e s ::: iona l to

the church, are as i mp ortaD.t tn the c hoi r cU r s e tor as t hey

are i n t h e orche stra l or profe s s iona l c horal condu ctor.

The p rinciple of con ducting is the same for a ny t ype con-

duc t ing whether lt be the g reat symphonies or t he a v erag e

chu r c h an t hem . The only t h ing tha t need s to be altered is

the p erson d oi ng the co n ducting . For a church p os ition t h e

c h o ir di r e ctor shoul c: be tr a in ed in mu si c generally and in

church musi c part i cul a rly.


53

There is a qualific ation for the c h oir dire ctor of u t -

most i mporto.n ce '.vhich t he prof e s 2i onal con ductor need not

h Gve, t h a t beint: th a t he be a chu rchma.n a nd de vo ut Ch ris ti an

':vho is i n sympathy with th e efforts of the pa stor.

After c onsideri n g the cha.racter of the c hoi r d irector,

1,v hat Ehould his mu s ic a l Rnd technic a l qualifications be?

As with the co ndu ctor, the musical and t echnj_ c a l quali fi c a tions

a re basi c ally the same. In churc h mu s ic and chor a l music

t h e di rector needs to h a ve a working knowled e: e of t he voice.

He needs a bac kg roun d in voice training, not necess e ri ly

for ma l t r a ining, but experience in c h or a l singing und e r some

c ap a b le di r e ctor. There is the danger tha t th e pers on ·without

vo i c e training wi ll do harm to those voic es u nder h is di r e ction

a s well as f a il to achiev e the r e s ult s and effe c ts th a t are

p ossible when the kno w l ed ~ e of th e voice is pr e sent . A pers on

wh o h a s h9d voice tr ai ning h e s t h e a dv ant ag e over th e one

who h a s not. A per son may be a ma s t e r of an instrument, h a ve

kno v.r ledge of mus i c , even l'e a comp o ser but as Dr . H. R.


11
Stre et e r , auther of Voice Bui ld ina s ay s, ••• h e may p o sse s s

a ll these and ma n y other p rere qui sitles , and t hen utt e rly
fai l a s a d irector of vo i ces. 11 l

1. Hor a c e R. Str e et e r; The St ree ter Method of Voice Building.


tBoston, 1'he Au t her.-r9C4 )
54

The director b esides having the pe rsona.li ty to ena.ble him


to work with his choir in an amiable relationship should also
h8 ve a friendly rele tionship 1·.ri th the minister. This :1s of
g r eat i mpo rta.nce, for ,._.- ithout it the music program will be
one giant headache . The cooper ati on of the clergy is ab s olutely
necessary if the music for the worship service is to function
properly :md smoothly. The choir di rector and the clergy should
plan the year s' music program . Es pecially shoul d they plan
together the festivals of the church year and the special
co n certs by th e choir. The sel e ction of hymns should be a
joint effort of the choir di rector and the minist er. All
t oo often, the hymns are s e lected without consideration of
their basic merits or congrui ty inthe service. The minist er's
11
sermon on, All Vile Liquors to the Thro wn in the Ri ver 11 ,

11
wi t h the '"' :mgre gation at t h e close singing, Shr:dl We
Gather at t h e River?" i s a.n example of a car e less s e lection
of hymns. This is humo r ou s , but nevertheless, it drives ho me
the poin t of the r e l a tion of the hymns to t he service. In
some c a ses the church secretary se lects the hymns. 1

The choir director a ctually serves as a.n ass i t ant

minister, for his function carries hirn . to the congre.e::ation

1. See ehapter VII under sele c t ion of hymns as de termined


by questionnaire.
55

and the ent1 re church. It is his duty to know a n d understa nd


the pe ople of t he churc h for they a re the bac kb one of the

church and through t h em h e obt ~ ins his 6usical ma t e ri a l

and sup:;) ort. It is for them tha t the mu s ic of t he church is

offered a nd dlre cted.

The choir d ire ctor ha s a r esp on s ibility to the co m~unity

in 1:1 hi ch h e s e rve s . He will be c a lled upon for numerous

tas k s conc erning not only his chu r ch but other church es a s

v1ell. He should render this servi ce c h eerfully a nd generousl y

f or suc h ser v1ces strengthen the rel a tions bet1,ve e n churc hes .

~'Jo s t communi tie s h a ve a union service a t some ti me of the

chu rc h y e a r, esp eci a lly, during Holy Week . It will be the

res p onsi b ility of one of the dire c t ors of on e of the churc hes

to secure mus i c for the services. This may be in the form

of a massed choir fnorn v a rious c hurches or p erhap s i ndi vi du a l

soloists re p resen ti ng th e various church e s. nere the i mporta nce

of frien dly re l a tions betwe en the c h oir dire c t or a nd his

p rof e s s ional col leae ues i s emphas i sed.

6. Se l e ction of I"iusic

The choir d ir e ctor's respon s ibility in the selection

of p ro per music for th e wo rsh i p service is of equ a l i mport a nce

to tha t of the ministe r's p re pa r a tion of h is s e rmon. Not only

doe s the musi c tha t is t o be u se d in .the service hav e to be

of the h i ghest q ua.li ty but 1 t shoul d b e a s congruous as p o ssible


\•ri t h t he serrron sub ject en d the g en er a l thecr. e of the e!ltire

se rvice.
56

Th e c h oice of hymns ha.s been mentioned p r e viou s ly in

t hi s chap ter, e_nd it ehoul d be r emembere d tha.t the mini ster

a_nd t h e c h oir director ar e the ones res p ons :t b l e for the

co ng r u ity of t h e se rvice a nd t he r e for e , shoul d be t h e ones

t o s e lect th e h y mns.

Th e s e lection of e nth e ms , r eeponses , chents, etc., i s t h e

di r e ctor' s single re s pons ibil i t y . His ju d gement a n d inte grity

must be of the hi f. hest calibre t o bring t h e p eople of the

cho i r a n d the cone:re g ation t h e best music h is own particul ar

choir is c apable of d oing well. It i s much wiser to do music

inthe r a n g e of a. choir' s a bi l i ty a nd to d o it we ll than

to a ttempt so me music which is tech nically too difficult for

t h e choir. Th e d i r e ctor mu s t ed uc a te hi s choir s lo wly by

d oi ng e:ood music and ad v ,mc ing in t e c h nic a l dext e r i t y as

the c hoir its e lf b e co mes a uni t e d g roup s i ng i ng a s one voice

u n de r th e pr op er c uid a nce and le a der s hip of t he director.


57

CHAP'rER VI

Choral Organi za.ti on

1. Junior Choir
For ~duc a tion a l purposes one choir is not sufficient
to meet t h e needs of v ar iou s e,e;e groups 'I'l l thin the church.
It is ne c ess a ry, therefore, to organize and foster choirs
which will e_: ive musi ce.l opportunity to all persons from the
Junior Dep artment to the Adult Choir.
Before organizing a Junior Choir it is neces s ary for
t h e church to ask it self if it c an eupp ly Eound 1 ead erE,hip
fo r such a choir. Is the church will i ng to g ive a sta tus of
i mp ort ance to the J unior Choir a s it does to the other church
a ctivities? I s there a serv j_ce it c an render either in the
Sunday School or the worship service ?
The choir must no t be an amusement for the chi l dren
but it shoul d b e the c enter of their early religious lif e •
.No t only >·rill the chil d be t augh t to sing corr ectly vri th
o th ers in 2 ple 0 sing mc:mner but he will be exposed to e:ood
mu s ical literature .
"The language of music should be v_r i thin
re a ch of a1lchi1dren. The right time to
improve t h eir mu s ic al ap nr e ci a tion and
kn~wledge is dur ing chil~hoo d ." 1

1. Reginald L . iV:c Ca1l; Fra c tt c 2.1 Church School IS:u s i c.


( Abingd on Fres E. 1 932)
58

Even though the public s cho o l s a.fford mus ic for the

chil dren, t he church still nee ds to of fe r gui dan ce in musi c a l

tr ~ining . By ~pp l y in g the no t e of worship, the chu r c h c a n

t r a in th e child in a fuller knowledge of the a ct of wor s hip

both through li steni n g a nd p~ rticipation.

If a child love s to d o these tning s he 1dll not forge t

them when h e g ro ws ol d er. It will inf lu enc e his li k e s a.nd

dis likes. Memory \,r ill keep wha t c a nnot be p r a c ti ced. Those

wh o l earn earl y .to make musi c a part of thei r l iving will

never shut it out e ntirely.

The Junior Choir memb ersh i p s hould be o pen to a.ll boys

s nd g i r ls in the Ju~ior Depa rtment. Vocal .tests a re unwise

a t th i s lev el s i n ce the ch il d is in t he dev elopm ent s tag e

a n d l a c k of muscul a r contro l migh t c au se h im t o fa il. With .

encourR.g ement and tre.ining he migh t succe ed b o th musicall y

a n d Eo c i e.lly.

Although the mu si c pr og r am of the entire church should

be under th e s u per vi si on o f the di rector of mus ic , i t will

ofte n be necess a ry for him to appoi n t a le gder for the Juni or

Choir. The le a der of the Junior Choir s hould b e approved by


the dire ctor of music, the mu si c co mmi tt ee, a nd the minist er.

The l e8 der should be a pe r s on \-Iho is as h i g hly qualified

a s p os sib le. He shou l d be directly responsibl e to the d irector

of mu si c fro m who m he c an fin d encou r ag e ment a nd he l p 111rhen need ed~


59

A public school mu s ic te a che r i f int e rested in the church would

be i deal for the le a der ship of the Junior Choir s ince h e or she

is music a lly tr a ined a nd experienced in h a ndling childr en .

The p ri ma ry p ur p ose of the J unior Choir is educ a tion

not performa nce. However, it is beneficial t o the ch oir if

it may sing in the wor s hip se rvice occassionaly s ince it

g ives a de finite g oal for \'ih ich to strive. They may s ing a

speciel nu mber dur ing the v.;o r sh ip service or the y may b e used

with the o ther choirs in singing music for multiple choirs.

Their c hie f per for ma nce should be as a c ho r a l unit l earning

new hymns an d p re s enting them to the Sunday School.

2. Intermediat e Choir

Th e I n t e rmedi a t e Choir mi gh t be referred to·as the

Young People ' s Choir since it con s ists of chi ldr en of Sen ior

High School age. This g roup is too y oung t o s ing wi th the

Ad ult G~0, r an d t oo old for the Junior Choir, s o it is

necessary for them t o ha ve a c hoir of their o wn.

" With t he f u r ther development of choral


music in the p ublic s chools, wh ic h h a s
developed most r apic iy, c ame t he idea of a
choir 'in bet qeen', c a lled I n termed i ate , Young
People's or Ch?pel Choir." 1

1. Kenneth E . Runkel; " Iviul tiple Choirs end Their l•:usic. 11


Paper p r es ented a-t Sum:ner Choir School
Sess ion a t Northweetern University.
August 19LJ-5
60

~he I n t e rmediate Choir is under the dire ction of the

di r e ctor of mustc. Since thi s choir is the di rect feeder for

t h e Ad ult Choir the di r e ctor shoul d have it under his direction.

It is brou gh t into the worship service e.t regul a r i n t e rvals.

to assis t either or sing the entire service. This g ives them

members the experience and tra ining necess a ry for entr an ce into

the Adult Choir upon their fraduation from High S chool.

Since their voice s e r e undergoing a period of c hRnf e,


c a re must be t a ken not to use music th a t will force the

voic e s. t<u s ic \'ditten for SATB is often difficult for this

choir due to the ineffectiveness of voice range e. , e.ince

tenors have d ifficulty r e a ching the high notes a nd bas s es

t h e low notes. Mu s ic wri t ten i n SAB form h a s been used

su cces r fully for t his type choir. This emplo ys e ll the mal e

voices on the one part suitable for t he r ange of both tenor

a nd b ass . One of the pionee r compos e rs 2nd err a n gers of

S.AB and 11ul tiple choir for m is Kenneth E. Runk el, Vfho received

th e bs eki n g s,nd encourag e ment from H. Au gu s tine Srr.i th a nd

Ed war d A. . Furhma.nn, t he orl td.n!=lt ors a nd founder E of t h e

multiple cho i r system in America . 1

1. Ra l ph Lewando ; " ~vbo's ;; ihoin P it t sburgh Music Circles."


F'ro m the Pit t.sbu r e:h Press of April 9 , 1944
61

The mult ipl e ch oir con sis ts of the three cho i rs of the

chur ch , t h e Adu lt, Intermedi a te , and J uni or s in~ in g one a nth em


i n the wor s hi p se rvic e .
"Instead of we ak eni ng t h e Adul t Choir by di v idi n g
i t i n to more than four pa.rt s , he eff e cts of more
than four part s were easi ly procured by wri t ing
even up to ten pa rts, s i n c e three choi rs we r e a v a il-
able. One choir humming v.'hile the Juniors sang t h e
words mad e ouite a novel effect. If a ll humming
wa s des ired, one choir humm ing or sing i nE th e v owel
11
oo 11 s oftly .,rhile the other choir sa.ng 11 ah" added
another e ffect to t h e un li mit ed p ossibilitie s .
There is a di ffere n ce in tone color f ound in t h e
chil d voice or unchanged voic e , t he adol es cent voice,
and the ad u l t voice. One theory i s tha t in t he child
voice t he upper p a.rtia ls are the ev en-numb e r ed ones,
with mo r e of the od d-numb e red upper pqrtials in the
ad ol es cen t voic e , while non e are f ound in t he un tr a i ns d
adu lt voice. 11 1
In these 'three voice grou ps ar e treated li ke t h e

different choirs of e.n orc he str e. , i nd ividu a lly or in the


di. ffe r- en t combina t i ons, t hey hav e a new e_ppro.9 ch to the c ho r a l
p ossibilities of t h ree choirs of different ages , and a r e the
11
tru e st aspe ct of the symphonj.c 11 choir.
A col lege is i mp o ss ible wi thout a h i gh school and a high
Echoo l withou t a gr ade s c h ool; the churc h feels the Sunday School
i..s a feeder f or the futur e me;nbership into the church, s o the
Junior Choir is a feeder for the Intermediate Choir and the
I n termeei at es are a f e ed er f or the Adult Choir.

1. Runke l; Op . cit.
62

3. Adult Choir
Obviously, the Adult Chdr is the most important choral
orge nization l•ri thin t h e church due to its function in the
worship service an d its choral a chievement. The most important
fu n ction of the Adult Choir is to support and fost Er con-
gre Ea t i onal singing . The Adult Choir e xpresses the feelin g of

the c ongre gat ion through its music. The music should not
be addressed to the congrega tion but offered on their behalf.
Care shoul d. be t aken not to over dramatize the music or draw
at tention fro m t h e music to the p erformer. The choir office
should be to exp ress mu sic a.l utter ances towards God and to

pr ovid e a s ti mulus for the congre Eation. The ministry of

musi c is a privile ge as well a s an opportunity . ~r the choir.


11
The funct:i.on of the choir is to offer to God
a sacrifice of the noblest music a l art of the
church, presented 'di t h a consciousness of the
hi gh signific ance of the s a crifici a l F.t ct. If
the ministry of the cl e r gy is a spiritu a l one,
t h en I ',voul d s :>.y t h a t the ministry of the choir
is one of be auty ••.. and there is no wi de gulf
1'
.....ween t'nern •..• 1 .
b ew

In order for t he choir to function properly it should


11
be orEa nized. The di..ctiona ry says , A choir is an orgc;mized
co mpany of s inge~ s , especi ally in church. 11 And to be org anized

1. .Archib a ld Davison; Church I~usic. Ill13__§_ion a nd Reality.


Harv ard University Press-rcambridge 1 952)
p p . 52
63

means . ''Arr ange or dis tr ibute into parts with t h e p roper

offic ials so a s to work or c arry out a s ch eme effici en tly;


s y stema tize; put i n to wor king ord e r." 1

4. Organiz a tion of Ad ult Choir

Adv Ant gg es for ha vinE an ore·eni zed choir a r e s evera l.


Th e ch oir shoul d ha ve capab l e offic e r s who c an as su me the
r esp onsi b ility for t a s k s th a t a re necess ary for t he well-
b e i n c of the choir. An ore;a niz e d ch o i r gives th e memb ers

a s ens e of unity a nd an offi ci e.l cha nn el throu e:h which

they may voic e their p roblems. As elect e d offic ers the y c e.n

comp rise a ch oir commi tt e e wh ic h CGn wor k with t h e dir e ctor


on v"t a l choir matters. Org ani zation st abilizes t h e choir
so tnat it is se lf- func tioni::J.g , mg_k ing it l es s d ep enden t on
the dire ctor a s a n a dm inist r a tor.
Eac h office must be n ee ded and u t ili zed to its f ullest

ext ent and e a ch offi c e r mu s t should er his or her resp onsibility


if a h ealthy, efficient organi za tion is to be ma in tain e d .
11
If t .h e electj_v e offic es of t h e va rious choirs
ar e honora ry r c t he r t h an func tion e.l, then they
are probably n o t ne c es s ary ••. The mor e 'offi ci a ls'
ther e ar e , th e more le ad er :::. th er e ar e ·,·th o s'cia r·e
the r espo nsi b ~li t.y , but it a lso means tha t th e se
offici als must be abl e t. o get ' a long ' ·,d th each
other and vri th t~e director. 11 2

1. Web s t e r's Di ction ary. T~e ~'iorld Publishing Co., Cl e veland


an d Ne~v Yo;rk
2. Kettring ; op. cit. pp . 74-75
To assu r-e effi e 1 ency and smoothn ess in the adm in i s tr e.tion
o f the choir offices a con sti tution shoul d be dre.vm up and
ad opted by the ch oir. The consti t u t ion shoul d include

sp ecific a tions for member shi p int o the ch oir, a listing of the

off icers and their duties, 9nd any r-ules and re gul ati ons •r1hich
seem nec ess2.ry to th e individual choir. The following
con stitution i s an exemple o f a typic a l church choir consti-
tution whi ch is p r esen tly b e ing us ed succes sfu lly. 1

Oonsti tution of St. lv1ary 1 s Churc h Ch2_ir


1. IvJembership

1. Membership sh a ll be open to a ll p ersons, 18 or over,


>·rho Rf.ree snd co mply ':.r i th the f ollowing 2 requ ir emen ts
co n cerning (1) coo pe r at ion and (2) musi ci Anship:
(1) It shall be expected ~ hat each memb er, asa
Ch risti an , h ave the A.ttitude of he lpfulness: tha t h e be
wi lling to g ive of s ome of his time t o choir a ctiviti es :
tha.t he appre ciate the p rivile g e and r e sponsi bill ty
of being a co-leader, ( a long wi t h the minister and his
ass ist ants), of th e worsh ip of God: anc tha t h e refr 0in
fro m doing anything not representatives of t he spirit
o f Christ in the service and in rehear-sal.
(2) A memb e r's mus i ci anship sh 8ll meet the a pproval
of the ch oirmast er. All members sral mak e humble
t hei r own indi vi du a l tastes, and sha ll respect t h e
music al e n d artistic discrimination of the cho~m a st e r.
II. Off i c e rs and t hei r duties.
1. (1) Th e Pr es i .d ent, Se cret ary , and Tre a surer sha.ll hold
offic es for one ful l y e 0r, beginning immed iatel y af ter
e lection.
(2) Th e election sh e.ll b e by bal lot--the nomin ot ions

1. St. i.:J:ary ' s Epi s copa l Church, Dorc hester , l.!J:assachusetts


b e ing mad e fro m the floor- -- and shall t ake p l a ce
during t he 4 weelc s pr e ced i ng t he c ess ation of the
re gul ar rehearsals ( su mmer months) the ex a ct dat e
to be de signated by t he exe cutiv e co mmi ttee.
(3 ) Th e pl s c e of Pre s iden t--in c ase of his ab s e nce--
sh all be taken by the Se cr e tary; in case of the
l a.t ter 1 s absence, by the Tre a surer.
( 4) Th e Librari an and Robe l<Ianager sha ll be auo oin ted
b y the choirmast er, subject to approva l by t h e minister.
2. (1) The ch ief duty of the Pr es i dent shall be t o as sist
t h e ch o i r ma st er whenever f:,u c h ass i s t.::mce be needed,
espe ci ally in relieving him of extra -music al
proble ~s . He sha ll pre side ov er the busine s s me et-
i ngs shR ll be respon sible for the EOO d conduct of
h is gr oup, (espe ci a lly in i t s ass embli ng p rior to
entsring the Sund ay morning: vw r ship servide), and
shall assume dut i es not ass i gned t o other offic ers.
(2) The Se cr etar y shall k eep t he minute s of the bus-
iness mee t i ngs of the choir, and shell have custody
over a ll i ts re cord s exce p t t ho se s p ecific a lly
a ssi gned to others . It sh all be his. duty t o k eep
a co mp lete r eEi ster of all members , including thei r
n ame, ad. ::~ ress , tel ephone number , and v estmen t-f<blder
numb e r, e.n d a ttendan c e record. He shal l condu ct
any corr esponden c e o f the choir, such as s p eci a l
notice s , cour t e sy car ds , and the like , an ~ ~ 8 sha ll
f r om ti me to tim e submit a short r eport on th e
a ctivities of the choir to the mini s t er for a d-
mission to the c hurch CEJ.lendar.
(3 ) The Tre a surer shall coll e ct the week ly due s a nd
ho l d an y other f und s deposited with him , and shall
payout onthe ord er of the cho ir s i gned by the
pre siden t and secrete ry. He shall keep a r e c ord
of the s e fin an ce s and sh s ll from time t o t i me
pr esen t a writt en r eport to t h e ch oir.
(4.) The Libr o,ri =m , as a.ssistant. to t he ch o irmESt.er,
shall hav e charg e ~ v e r the musi c l ibr a ry o f the
choir. Hl s most i ·:n;n edi a. te duty sha.ll b e to se e that
before the rehea.rs ql and serv ices the ne c e ssary
material be ready , end that a f ter t h e rehea.r s.g l and
serv i c e s it is p ro pe rly t aken C8r e of.
( 5) The Robe Manag err· shc:: ll ha.ve f ul l ch ar f. e over all
ma tt e r s conc e rni ng the vestment s, h i s ma in r e Eponsi-
bility sh all be t o se e that t hey are in re sp ecta bl e
conditi on fo r e:wh 5und ay 1 s 'l'l orshi p s ervice. He
shall fromt i rne t o ti me s ubmit t o the choirmaster
66

and the minister a de t ailed report on the


state of the ve stments , and recommend for con-
si der ati on any measure he sh a ll judge necess a r y
for fu l fill ing his resp ons1blity.
3. All off i c e rs shall reserve the ri ght t o chose
e.ss i s tan ts.
4. Officers sha ll have the power to c a rry out
th et r resp on s i bi l i ti es , en d shall pr esent any
infringe'!lents of t.h e rul es and r egul a tions
be fore the executlve commi "-tee, conE:i st ing
of th e abo v e menti on ed officers and the ch o i r-
ma,ster.

III. Rules a,nd Regul at ions

1. Conduct and appearance dur ing worshi p service:


( 1) Me mbers sha.ll maintain p rope r per so nal ap-
J3e a r ence, inclu d inp: dark shoe s ; l a dies sha ll re-
fr a in fro m wea ri ng ear r ings .
( 2) I1embers shall ref ra in fro!Tl conver sation dlring
t h e en tire service; e a ch member sha.ll donduc t
hi ms elf quie t ly, and in an a ttitu de of prepara-
tion a ssembling in the choir room prior to
entering the wor ship servi c e .
2. Dues :
(1) Weekly dues of ten cents per pA rson shall be
coll ecte d a t each rehe a rs a l b y the tre a surer,
and shall be u s e d vri thin the organiz ati on for
so ci a l e v ents, de a ths, births, ~i ckne ss , marri age ,
or by apportionments deemed vwrthy by t h e
majority vote.
3. Attend:mc e :
(1) All members s hel l r espe ct the authority of t h e
charma ster b y a s king permi ss ion to sing on a
Sunday precede d by an absence fr om rehea rsal.
( 2) A me mber's absenc e shal l be excu s ed if such
by l eg iti mat e and be given t o the ch oirmaster,
president, or se c r e t ary, prior to the r ehe arsal.
(3) All ma tters co n c ernint: abs ences shall be the
responsibilit y of· ~m app ointed co T.rr. ittee. At
no time is th e cho _r mas t e r involved i n deci eion s
for dismissal, and such.
The p rec e ding constitution is merely an example and

sh oul d be used only as a guide in dr awinE u p a con s titution


67

for other choirs. Care should be taken not to over organize

the choi r.
"In any event, the ort; a niz ati on should be as simpl e
a s possible. It is a ouest ion, too, as t o how de-
mocr ati c the choir orge.ni za.tion can really be when
the cH rector must theoretically and a c tua.lly have
rather a bsolute authority as t o selection of
p ersonne l. 1 "
The director should be relieved of all extra- musical

duties so tha t he can concentrate on selection of musi c,

presenta tion of :rr.usic to choir, a n d the fulfillin g of his

du ties without being the initi ati ve behind the functioni~ g

of t e choir.

-Attendance
----·-- -
"
To encour age Rnd r e ce l ve consi stant Rttendence f r·om his

c hoi~ members , the d1rector mu s t off e r a urn~~~~ thAt will


1
a ppeal t o the sinEer s s eYlSe 01' responsibility. 'l'h1s mean s that

the mus ic program must be well planned and p resented in su ch

a manner as to at tr Bct and hold the .- sinEer's a ttention . An

atmos phere of achieve rr. ent shou l d be sen f,ed by the singer.

"The 'safest' ki!l d of enthusiasm to stir up in


sing ers is e n en t husiasm for e: oo d music, and a
repertory of distinction and qu a lity helps to
bring ab out hlgh sV3,nda r ds i n individual choir
r e cords . " 2

1. Kettring ; Ibid. p~ . 75
2. Kettring; Ibi d . pp. 174
68

Means of encouragin ~ cons istant attendance a re many but

a f e\'r migh t be mentione d to help in u nderst anding the p roblem

of a ttendance.

il'ih en the ne w member is c>dmi tted to the cho i r he should

be gi v e n a lea flet which describes the choir p r o ce dure s con-

cerni n g the a ttend ance of eBch me mber. This serves to inform

the new me~ber a t on c e of t he choir p olici es.

An a ccurate record of at tenda.nce will t end to encour ag e

consistant a ttend a nce, espe ci a lly if the r e cor d s a re pos t ed a t

r egular int e rvals wher e e ac h m e ~b er's record is o pen for insp ec-

tion by other choir members.


A sys te m of g iving p o ints wh er e by t he choir member can

s p e nd or earn point s as he wishes t h rOUf hout the churc h y ear


o ften proves effec t .lve. The c ho ir member is g iven a p oi nt for

each month tha t the c h oir s ings during the year. If the choir

sings nine months of the y ea r, for instanc e , then the member is


f.l v e n nine p oints at the be g- innlng of the y e ar . Ea ch re hearsal

absence costs t h e member one p oint. An a b s en ce fro m the Sunday

morn ing worship service c osts one- h alf point. If the absen c es
a. r e wi thout e xcuses then the p oints e.r e d oubled. Th e me mber

may receive addit ion ~l points or per c entages thereof by con-


tribu ting in some outstanding way to the choir. These ex t ra

points a re g iven a t t he discretion of the me mb e r s hip co mmi ttee

wh ich is appo inte d by the Pre sident. -~~hen the t ota l am ount
69

of p oints are u sed by t he merrber he is dismissed from the

choir by t he membership co mmittee. However, before his p oints

a re e nt i rely used he is notified by the ~embe rship co mmit t ee

of his nu mber of poin ts remainlnf.. The dis missed member

may a ppeal to t h e :-rembership co mm ittee if he thinks the

e.bs enc e s were valid end may re cet ve a hearing by th e co mm itt ee .

If h e is reist e t e d he is g iv e n the nu mber of po ints equal

to the number of months rem a i ning in the church year.

Over using d evices to secure atten dan ce must be avoided.


11
After a ll, attendance is only a means to an end,
and t h ese :natt c r s of mechanics should rig h tfully
be kept in the b e c kg round." 1
Choir lett e rs sent by the d ir e ctor at reful r i n t e rv ls

or on s p ecif i c occassions will a id in un1fy1n! t h e choir.


The s e may be subtle re mi nders of rehearsals, d __ Ecus sing

rou gh s p ots in a reh D ~ r ~a l or p r a ising g oo d work, smoothing

ov e r irritations a ri sing b e tween djre ctor and choir, and

discuss ing in gene r a l the musical intentions of the dire ctor.

Public rec ognition of choir membe r s for faithf ul service

to the choir and churc h at banquets and worsh ip services

will be benefici a l in ma int a in in~ f OOd mora le and incre as ing

pride ln the choir.

1. Kettring; Ibi d. p p. 181


7.0

To secure consistant 2 tt en c ance is to have \·re ll p l a nned

re h e ar sals offering the choir me mber a g ood repertory,


opportunity for musical e xc ellence , and a feeli ng of being

ben efited p ersona lly. Encourag ing the members through choir

letters and p erso~ al reco gniti on by the choir and church for

ye a rs of service will increa s e t h e sense of pri d e a nd set

a n example for othe rs to follo w.

6. Publicity fo!:_ musical pro[r a ms


Org Pnized p ublicit y is neces sary for each speci a l

music a l p ro g r a m p r esented by the choir. The choir publicity

chairman shoul d work with the music committee of the church

in this matter. Their function is to expl a in to t he me mbers

of the church how· the music prog r a m rel a t .es to the church a nd

its worship. One g ood pl a n i s to have tic k ets for eac h program

ree:a.r d less of wh eth er 1 t is free or not. By h a vin g tickets the

h ol d er feels a s ense of obli g ation a nd is more likely to a ttend

t h e p ro g r a m. The tic k et s s erve a s r e minders. The publicity

co mm ittee Ehould obt 8 in a ma ilinE list of church ~ e m bers

and s end the m tic k et requ e st forms. These a re returned by the

chuc h P-J ember desi gn a tine: ,.,Th ether he v1ants tic k ets s e nt to him
for all of the mu s ical programs.

Only tic k et hol d e r s s hould be a dmitted a t once to t h e p ro-

g r a m. The non-tic k et h ol d er s s houl d be p rovided a pl e ce to wa it

until five minutes before pro g r am ti me. This will ena ble the
71l

custod i a n to d etermine t he number o f extra c hai rs needed , if a ny,

a nd will a voi d bri ng ing in ch ai r s afte r the p ro g r am has b egun.

Those without tick ets wi ll feel 1 t neces Earyto obtain tickets

for the next p ro gr ~rn a n d willhelp in p ro motinF g oo d


at t e nd a nce.

To d o a t h orou gh job Of publicity re quires an e fficient

c ommit tee. There a re ma ny duties wh en publici zing pr o grams .

Ti c ket re quest forms must be p rinted and ma il ed. Posters and

broc hu r e s must be p rinted or pa i n t ed and di s tributed. A mailing

l ist of non-church memb e rs should b e a v a il e bl e . Ti c k ets h~v e to

be printed and mq iled. Speakers should c o to v a rious cl ~ss es in

the Sunday Sc h ool a n d e nnounce the proe:rarn. Announcements

should be pl a ced in the c hu rc h cBL endar and pape r, on the

radio , and in local newsp ap ers. Re p r esent a tives to sp eak a t


nei fh boring chur c he s and scho ol s should be sele ct ed and one

person sho ul d be res p on sible for ~ ritin E n ewsp per material

e nd seeing tha t it i s p ub lished a t the most effective ti ~ e.

7. Th e ;usic Co mmi tte e

The mu s ic comm itt ee is one o f the most n eglect e d

co mm ittees in the churc h. Re s ul ts t a kenfrom Ee v enty-five


qu esti onnairsssen t to v a rious d enominat ions show that o u t of

the seventy-fiv e churches wh o replied , only e i gh teen had music

comT itte es tha t functioned with Gonsiderable a c tivity . Thirty-


tvro had llttle a c tiv :i ty a,nd as hie:h as twEnty had no a c tivity
/

72

even thoue:h there wa s a n app oi n t e d co mmi t tee. Fi ve churc hes


had no co mm itt ee due , in part, to the Presb y t erian d~nom in ati on

ha ving s essions inste a d of committe e s.

Although these fi g ures are not p roof of t he en tire

s itu ati on they show t h ere is a tendenc y t o neg lect the music

co mm i t te e a.n d its function, whether it be i ntent iona l or not.


Th e c h o ir d irector a lone c a.n not be exp ected to pe rform

the whol e task of p romoti ne the mu s ic p ro gram . The commit t ee

s h oul d b e an a ctive g rou p.


11
The transition must genera.lly be made from
a nominal , ho n orary , or merely ad vi sory
g roup to that of a function a l comm ittee
which of fers en example of the entire church
at work." 1
The mu s ic co mm ittee . sh oul d rang e i n number from five

to n i ne members, in r el a t ion to size of a chur c h memb e r ship.

Ea c h me111ber shoul d be s e lected for his ab i li ty t o f unction "•ii th

the group and for h i s i nd i v idual h and ling of c erta i n p roble ms.

There shoul d be so me who h a v e music a l jud gemen t. 'l'hey will then

be a ble to underst Gnd the d ire ctor' s p roblems and t o i nt e r p ret

t he mu s ic to the pe op l e of the church and prote ct th e di rector

from crit icisms a ri s i ng fro m mi Bunderst and i ngs . The co mm itt e e


should e xp l a in the g o a ls of the c h o i r to the minister and other

co mm ittees a nd shoul d back and defend the di r e c tor i n h i s ef fort

to i n tro duce new musi c into the service.

l. Ket tri ng; Ibid. pp . 63


73

The music com mitte e should have a choir re p resentative

to voice the opinions of the choir e nd to keep the choir

a nd co mm ittee in conta ct with each other. Usually the President

of the choir is selected as the choir representative to the

musi c co mmit tee. If there are yo uth choirs one of the par ents

from these c hoi rs sho ul d be on the music committee.


Th ere should be a repr esentati ve from the non-musical

body of the church. These members wo ul d not be a p p oint e d


because they happ en to like musi c but be c ause there a re

other interests and positions that would be represented on

the co mmit te e. A pers on .,,rhc i s not musi c a lly i n clined may

be able to see p roble ms that the musi c a lly minded woul d over-

lo ok.
The musi c co mmittee should inclu d e a member fro m th e

offi c ial bo a rd of th e churc h , preferrably the finance committee

c h air me n. The finan ci al ~atters could then be exp e rtly and


ac curately stated. The bu dg et should be ite mi zed in det a il

and p rese n ted to the church for t h e l a yman to see.


The music committee s h ould hav e co mplete au thority in hiring

and firin g of the must c dire ctor and orE.8 nis t . The minister
wo r ks as an ex-officio member of the musi c committee so
that h e may offer suggestions and be i n f orm ed of the pro cedur es

of the co mm ittee.

The music comrni ttee shoul d 1'm rk in h a rmony 1tii th a ll the

ag encies in and out of the church. 'rhey a re constitut ed to


7.4

to obtain re sults. They shoul d be mana.gerial a nd n ot :part icul ar~

ly mus ic performers . The org a ni s t and the director of music

are not members of the mus1.c c ommit tee.

The music committee works with the choir in obta i ning

new members, doing publicity f or special programs, raising money


for v ari ous needs of the choir, and giv ing the choir recognition

by me ans of banquets, and sp eci a l services. The co mm ittee backs

and defends the director in his musical program of the church.

The committee is res p on si b l e for selection and upkeep of

musical instruments, hiring of l eade rs of music , and seeing


that the entlre musical r es ource of the church is utilized.

uThe Mus ic Com:n ittee is to he l p toward the fullest


and the worthiest realization the i mpulse
and the need and desire for expres s ion through
music, 1,....-hi c h is inher ent in the re li.g ious
life and par ticul a rly, and most abu n dant ly,
in the Christic;m life •... The Music Committee's
task is one of i n tero reta ti on, cul ti vation,
and cre at ion.u 1 -

1. Edwin H. Hugh~ ( a nd others); 'ilorship in ~usic. Abi ngdon Press.


(r ew Y~rk. 192 9) pp. 200
75

CHAPTER VII

§_ Survey of Contemporary Church Music Procedures

To determine in part, the contemporary scene in church

music 100 a uestionnairs were sent to v a rious minist e rs of


music throushout the United States. Of the 100 questionnaire

sent out 71 were returned.


The first question was: Disregarding t h e fact that you

a re, or ar e not, seen by the congre[ati on do you f a vor dir ecting

the choir in t he worship service? Of 63 replies, 42 said y es, a nd


21 no. Almost the entire number of directors exclusively said,

'yes', while 27 of the 42 organist-directors also said, • y es'.

Those organist-directors ssyin~ 'no' compromised if they were


at the con s ole and unseen by the cong re ga tion.

The second questi.on wa s: Is your p osition that of organi st-

director or dire ctor exclu s ively? Of 67 replieE, 39 were

or ganist-directors and 28 were di rectors exclusively. It would


appear from this figure that di rectors ar e being hi red almost

as much as organist- di rectors.

The third question was : v~hat percentage of the current

expense budget does the music department receive? 6f 65


rep lies, 8 received 5%)24 received 7t, 15 received 10~, 11 received

12%, and 7 rece.i ved more than 12%. The average seemed to be 7%.
The fourth question w~s: \'Vnat is the nucleus of your choir

membership? Of 71 replies 3 were volunteer with paid soloist,


7'6

7 were volunte e r with few paid member s , 19 were volunte e r

with pa i d mixed ou ar tet (one b e ing doub le qu ar tet), 10 wer e

en t ir ely paid, and 3 2 were entirely volunteer.

The fifth questi on was : Leng t h of rehearsa ls; ( assum i ng on e


p er week )? Of 71 rep li es, 11 were one hour in length, 27 were

one and bn e- half hour s i n l e n gth , 25 were tvw hours in

l ength, and 8 were lo nge r t han t1·ro h ours. Several st a ted


tha t a ha lf- h our rehea r sal vra.s also h eld before the Sun day

servic e . One and on e - half to tw o hours seems to be the a ver ag e

length o f re h e ar s a ls.
The sixth question was : Se lection of hymns? Of 71 re p l~ ~s ,

36 said the minister of mu r ic and the director selecting


the h~mns, 27 sa.id the mini. s ter al one selected the rzyrnns,

7 said the di r e ctor a lone ae l e c ted the hymns, end one said
t he church secreta ry selec ted the hymns to EO with t h e se r mon

topic . I t wa s g ratify ing t o find tha t in the maj or ity of cases

the mini ster an d di r e ctor selected t he hymns. To find even one

c a.se where t h e se creta.ry s e lected the h y mns is indi c 1 ti ve t h ere

ar e mo re such e a ses to be f ound.


The seventh ouestion was: How many tim e s does minister

of music and mini ster con fer and p l an musi c for the church

year? Of 67 r eplies, 31 mee t l es s than on c e per month, 11 meet

monthl y , 8 mee t bi- weekly, 16 meet week ly, a nd one me ets more

th:;m on ce p er we e k . One minister of mu sic s ent a co mp l ete list


of anthems for each Sunday of the c hurch year . He me e ts with
77·

the minister in Septembe r and p lans the mu si c t hroue;h De cemp er.


Anoth e r meeting is held in Janu a r y when p l ans are made for

the rema inde r of the churc h year. So me p l anr:al their music

on the monthly basis and oth ers on the quarterly basis. Many
ma de no plans at all.

The eighth question was : Nhat is the rele.tionship of the

music com~ittee to the mus ic p rogr a m? Of 70 replies, 18 said

consi derable a ctivity, 32 s a id little activity , and 20 s a id

no a ctivity. This would appe a r to show there is a weakn ess

in the functlon of many church music co mmittees. borne sta ted

t hat the only a c ti vity the co !Ilrnittee had was whe n it "'~1fas fo rced

to make a decision.
The ninth ou e stion was : How is thei r organized? Of 69

re p lies, 2 had a p resident onl y , 41 had a full slate of

of fleers, a nd 26 had no off i cer s . i'H 1enask ed if the officers

assumed re sp onsib i lity 31 sa id ye s and only 2 said no. This

seems to ind i cate t ha t the maj ority of churc h c h o i rs a re

fully or t: a nized.
The tenth question wa s : Do you, or h a ve you e v er , a ttemp ted

congr efa tione l rehearsals to i mprove the calibre of hymn


s i ng ing ? Of 71 replies, 18 sai d yes with ll h a.ving moder a te

results and 7 h a ving satisf e ctory results. Remar k s r a nged


1
fro :n , '' vlha t's t he u se", " 'rlouldn't know how' ·to '' , "Don't ne ed to".
78

The e l e venth ou e stion was s t a tis ti c e l to ~ eterm ine

v.rha t the size of the choir v;a s incompari son to t he c h urch

me~bersh i p . The r e sults are :

Geographical Number of Average Church Av e rage Choir


Loc at ion: Replies: Membership : !Iember shi p :
West 22 2151 50
Eas t 38 657 38
South 3 1256 21
New En g land 8 1093 23

The Mis s issi p pi River was us ed as the di vi d ing line


between the Ea st and th e We st.

Fro m the r esults fr om this qu estionnai re it wou l d a p pe ar


that the West has t he l a rge r c hu rc h member shi p 9nd also the

l arge r choir member shi p wi th New Eng l and bei ng the s mallest but

choirs in same p ro p ortion to meiP.be r Ehip. In th e Eas t me:nbers

in choir is greate r in proporti on to church memb e r ship . ~ith

only three replies fro m the South i t is d ifficu lt t o de ter mine

what the .. size wau l ~ be. The ave r ag e size ch oir a s d etermined

from thi s oues t i onn a ir c. woul d_ be between 20 and 30 me mbers.


This questionnaire i s on ly a parti a l means of de termining

the cont e:npor a ry scene i n c hur ch mu si c and can only be use d

as such. In no way is it me a n t as a f a c t finding d ocument. It


was meant to find out \tl'hat c ert e in sl tu a t i ons ,,rere i n v a rious

p a rts of the country a nd to de t e rmine to s ome extent the r e sults

fro m this condi t ions.


79

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c.c. Birchard and Co. Boston 1 939
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and Brothers Publi fhers~eTri York and Lond on 1 944
Firs t edition

Gehrk ens, Ke..rl 'd .; Es r ent 1.g1.§. in Conducting Bos ton,


Di. tson Co., 1919
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80

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.li:dlt ~ --_, r,

\11 ls on, · H.R.; h:. @vi de for Choral Conductors Si l ver


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Aus ermert, Ernest; ( Reported by Ros e He ylbut) "Don't Pl an
to be Conductor" Etu de December 1949
Bollo w, Joseph A.; "Att a ck an d Em i ss ion in Sin[ iTif . 11 btude
April, 1943
81

Cantelli , Gui d o; "A Philo s ophy of Condu cting " Etude,


l· ov ember 1951

Cas sel man, Eue- ene; "C h or a l Si n e: ine: a nd the Solo Voice 11
Etu de Nove mber 1951

Cho t z inoff, f:ig mu e l; "Pr a cti c a l Orpheus: Stokowski 11 Ne w


Yorke r March 21 , 1931
11
Cronem ill er , G.R.; Learning New Hymns" Etude Ju l y 1948

Dr eyfus , G.; " Notes on Conducting" "Convers a tion with


Kouseevitsky A tl a~tic I ~ont h l y Dece mber 1936

Ham ilton, IV illi am ; " Nusici. .<Jn s fo r t h e Choir 11 Etude


J ul y 1951
I' \'>
Heylbut, Rose; " Si r Tho ma s Beecham Has:say " Etude Apr i l
1942
Holly, Icy; "Bu ild ing the Gl e e Club" Etud e Aue_-u s t 1 S48
11
Hos mer, Hel e n Ill .; Technics of Chor e1 l Conduc t ing 11 E tu d e
Janu Ary 1949

Hus sey , D.; "B~uno Wa lte r a t a Rehear sal'' Satur6av Re vie•.v


(Lond on), J a nu o. ry 3 , 1925

~md Dr·e.smer.
11
Ludwi e: , Em il; "Bruno Wa lter; Le a der Nev1
Yort Tim~~ ' Octob e r 8 , 1933

Me lko, Niclil a i ( vv i t h Lu ~:h-: i [ , 1:'i "i.el ich); 11 P r FJ ctic e l Hints for


t h e Conducto r. " Etude, Febru o. r y 1941

Ma llet, Lloyd; 11 Ch o ra l Si nging for Childr en 11 • .ci;tud .§_


Ma rc h 1948
~·· rx:s
l•,a l:!..U gene; "G e t·.ti ll£ th e J.:Icst Out of a. Vo lun te e r Choir".
' , ,-,
Etude March 1936
11
l!lc Cur.jy , Ale xander; Cl e..rence Dic k <Dn s on 11 • :C:tud e, ·v:.a r c h 1 9 50

McCur dy , Alexa nder; "Hymn Pl ay ing in .the Chu rch Serv i ce".
Etude November 1951

Ivic ivla hon, Thoma s P. ( With Ka th erine I-Ioffma.n); "Fr·ont Pag e


IvJaestro : Le o p ol d Stokowski 11 • Today Apr il 18, 1936
New:rr e n, Ernes t; 11 Serg e Kou sse v i.. ts k y 11 • Amer i c an lviercu!:_Y
J a nu ary 1924
82

11
O'Connell, Charles; The truth a bout Con cucting." E tude
Nove mber 1950

Rei n er, Fritz; ( with Rose Heylbu t) ; "The Se cre ts o f Con-


du cting". Etude, July 1936

Reiner, Fritz; "The TechniQue of Conducting ". E tud~,


October 1951
11
Sayre, Gr ? ce; Choir Dire ctor's Vac at ion 11 • Etude, August 1950

StPauss , Richard; "Conductine: is a Di f f :l. cult Business."


Etude, March 1950

~'ie lker, StPnley; "He knew ~·/hat they Wen ted; Alfr ed Wallenstein 11 •
Wom a n's Home Comoanion , Nov e~ber 1940
11
Woo 6eon, Weldon D.; " This Choi r Goes Big 1'i me. Etude,
December 1951

~'lilli a. mson ,
11
J . Finl e y; 1'he Art of Chor a l ConductinE ".
Etude , Dece ~ber 1951
11
i'iilli a.ms on, J. F'inley; The I!11p ortance of Vow e l Coloring ".
Etude, October 1950
;;'fillie ms on, J . F'inley; "Pl c:mning a Choral Rehearsa l".
E tude, Iviay 1951

Yeiser, Frederick; " My Fr' end Eugene Goosens 11 • Victor Re cord


Revi ew, July 1941
BOSTON UNIVERSITY
GRADUATE SCHOOL

Abstr a ct of a
Thesis

Pro c edu res, Methods, and Te chni qu es in Church Choir Training

by

George Ave~i \\ Weigle

(A.B., West Virg ini9 We sleya n Colle~e, 1950)

Submitted ln parti al fulfillment of the


re quirements for the de Eree of
Master of Arts
1954
PnOCEDURES, METHODS , AN D TEC HN I QUES
IN
CHURCH CHOIR TRAI NI NG

In choral s i n g ing the rehearsal is the life blood of t he

choir , A successful rehearsal depends upon thoroo.fn p l r nnir.t:

b y the di rector. lvlusi c to be rehearsed should have enough

v a riety to make the rehears Bl intere s ting. An app ointed

co mm ittee makes the rehears a l room ready by having ch a irs,

lie_:hts, an the ms, hymnals, etc., in readiness when the choir

m e ~ bers and director arri v e. A p i ano is always used for rehears-

ing choirs. The organ is used for rehearsing a.s the fina l

p rocedure of t he rehearsal.
To ga in the best mat e rial possible fro m the a v a ilable

t s,l ent, the dire ctor must pu t an a udition into p r a c tice. The
8"pp l icant is g iven a s i mp l e voce"l test to d eterrr! ine his

ability to sinE on pitch, d escrimina te between in tervals,

re pr o duce e_:i ven tones, exercises to det e r mine his best notes

vd thin his rang e, voice ou:J.li ty; ensemble capabili ty and g enuine

interest i n singing .
Corre ct br ea thine: con sj_ sts of three p rim ary functions :

the in~piration, or taking ai r into the lungs; the reten t ion,

or ho1ding of the ai r in the lungs ; and the expiration, or

releasing· t .he br e ath fr om the lungs. 'I'he br eath must be con-

trolled. It i s the controlled br e ath and not the amount of

brec:tth tha t det€ r mines the strene:th of the tone. Bre a thing
(ii)

should be done phrase-wise a nd not note-wtse, The c atch-br eath

is used to sustain long pa s s a g es, with chor a l members s tag ge ring


their br e 8.thing ,. gi ving the over a ll effe ct that t he g roup

is not breathing on long pBssages . Chor a l memb e rs should


k eep g ood posture to maintain p ro per breathing.

Since reheBrsals do not a llow time for sufficient

dri lli ng in re ad ing t he d ir e ctor should offer p r a ctic al

suggestions a nd encourage outside pr.s c t icine: . Public school

~u i c p rogr am s are importan t in teach t he c h il dr en to read


music. Private musi c te e.chers sh ould off e r the s t udents music

t he ory as well as technioues.


Rhythm e.nd tempo a re importan t to the music in or d er

for it to be played or sun~ correctly. Rhythem is order in

mo vement or the w:-ly in \fhi ch the notes are grouped wi th r s s p ect

t o a ccen tu at ion. Tempo refe r s to the s p eed at which the be a ts

e re taken. Te mpo is determined by fi ven metrono me ~arking s,

Itali an words, or words in the native l anguage of the co mp oser,


sentiment of text, mel odic charac t er of the musi c, harmonic

s tructure of the mu sic, and metric a l a nd rhythmical cha racter

of the music. The more crowded a co mposition is with det a ils

in i n terpretation the slo1e r it shoul~ be executed.


Varying the p ower of torte on a note or group of notes

i s c a lled shPding . The e a r de r!l~md s variety in music s o the

techni~ue of dynamics is used to p rovide v ~ rtet y . The swell


is the ba.sj_s of most dynamic and em otio na l aspe cts of tonal
(iii)

colorinf!: . Under the swell c omes crescendo and decrescendo,

whi ch e re use d for single note s or long p h rases. Cre s cen dos
exp ress rising s e ntiment wh ich is re ge..rded as the first

p art of the swell. The decrescendo or di minuendo exp res s es a

lo wering of spirit which ts the last pR rt of the swell.


Hazards to watch for in unste ady~essure of dynamic ·

level a re: irregular br eath to voc a l cords; men t a l attitude

(uncert Ainty of notee, intervals) ; em otiona l re a ction of singer

(excitement, p resstire); me lodic line ( skip ping i n terv a ls, long

phrases); distrections ( audience, orchestr a , daydreamine·). l~lental


a lertness and strict a ttention to the d irector vdll help to

overcome these co mmon f aults.

Dynamic changes a re u suslly c a lled for on repeate d

notes or long notes, two notes to syll a bl e , as cending in

polyphonic musi c.

The position of a volce in a chord and its relation

to that chord determines how well that voice will be heard.


Bal a nce is ofte n jeopardized by too much treble. Higher
vibr a tions in the treble voice makes it e a sier to hear.

Treble voices should soften to bal a nce with the male voices.
Support may be ad d ed to tenor voices by a ddine: alto voices.

to vital passages.

I nt onat ion is the manner in which tones are produ ced

in rel a tion to their key. When a voice varies from the p roper

key rel ati on it is s a id to be flat or sharp. Extreme heat will


e ffect i YJ.tona tion. Absorption of tones by drap s, curtains,
( i v) .

etc., will de9den the so und. so tha t the ov e r tones a re not

hea rd. ~~e nt a l fatigue and. physical f a ti gu e c a use p oor i nton a tion.
Sma ll rooms or l a r ge roo ms with low c e ili n g s c a use fl at ti ng.

P l a ces to wat ch for fl a tti ng are hi gh notes a t the top of

as c ending me l odies , intervals from lo w to high p a r t o f vo i ce,

recurring int erv a l s , d escend ing me lo di es that turn u p fo r

r esolution , and sustained t ones where t he breath is not

properl y supp ort ed . Causes for sharp ing are over anx iety,

excessive effort , over sing ing , an d tenaion both menta l a nd

p h y si c a l.
Th e support of the c ongre f ati ong l s i n g i ng is the Or £an ist's
most i mportant function i n the wo rshi p service . Th e organis t

should hav e traini ng in orgen , voic e , church !!lusic , a nd genera l

a ll-round mu s ic a l kno wled f e. Th e or gani st shoul d be a ble to

p l a y any hymn in any hymna l expertly for the ch oir a nd con-

g re gati ona l si n gi n g . He s houl d k no w the f ami li a r a nthe ms ~

voice par ts as well as a c c ompani ment par t. He shou ld be a

ready r eader for a n y musical emergency. He should know the

f2 mili ar voc a l Bolos, c an.:1ta.t as , a nd or ato rio s . Ab ove a ll h e

shou l d re me mber he is not in a concert ha ll but is parti-


c ipant in Di vin e V'lorshi p . The t h r e e i mp orta nt functions

of the organi $t a.re : le ader of cong re ga tiona l sing ine: ;


a ccompaniest for choir; end s oloist during p reludes a nd

pos tludes.
: (v )'

Every group whic h endeavors to perform in p ublic needs

a s ole a uthority ·which t a kes the res pon sibi lit y of org a nizing ,

tr a ining , and rehears ing the gr oup into a s ing le unit t o

render musi c to the best of its abilit y . Thi s is the pur p ose

of the condu ctor. The cond uctor must Eive uni ty to g roup s

of singers in rhythm, te mpo, phr a sing, br ea thing , unit y in qu a lity

of contr a c t , bal ance of tone , melo di c prominence to homophonic

musi c, exp ression, thou gh t, emotion and i maginat ion. The conductor

should have a t h orou gh bac kgrounrl in the fundament a l s of

mu s i c . He should have a k een e a r and the ability t o read scores.

The me cha.nic e.l moveme nts in conducting should beco me second

n atu re to the co nducto r eo t hat his full a ttention may be

directe d to the music Rl i n terp ret a tion . The c onductor sh ould

have a p ersonelity th a t will reveal his a ualities e nd e nable

him t o mak e sponta neou s c on tact wi th his g roup.

Th e church c h oir dire ctor a c tuall y s erves as an ass i s t a nt

min is t e r, fo r h is duties c a rr y him to the congre e:ation and t h e


entire church me mbership. He shoul d , therefore, wor k in
h a,rmony with the minster.
For educ at ional pur p osea one c h o i r i s n ot sufficie n t

to me e t t h e v a ri ou s age gr oups within the c hurch. It is


neces sa ry, t h erefore, to o r ganize c\..'() t~ fo s ter c h oirs 'tihich will

fi ve musi c Bl opportunity t o a l l p ersons \-J i th in the chur c h.


.(Vi')

The Junior Choir's primery p ur p ose ie educ a tio n not

p erformance. They should s i n g in the worsh ip servi ce


occas s ionally si nce it g ives the ma definite f Oal for which

to strive. The ir chi ef pe r formance as a choral unit shoul d be

in le a rning nevr hymns e nd pr esent ing then: to the Sund ay School.


The I n t e r mediat e Choir, or YounE People's Choi r, is for

the hi[h school age. They a re too ol d for t h e Juniors Pn d too


youn g for the Adult Choir. They e.re g iv en t h e opportunity to

·si ng a t r e gul ar i n t e rv a ls in the worship service. This affords

expe rience and tr a ining necessary for entrance into the Ad ult

Choir u p on gr aduati on fro m hi Eh s chool.

Obviousl y , the Adu lt Choir is the mos t i mp ortant choral

org a nization within the church due to its func t ion in the

worship service a nd its choral achiev ement. Its function is to

s u p:r ort and fost e r cong re gation a l sinr ine· . 'I'h e f-:.dul t Choir ex-

p res e e s the feeling of the congregation throu f h t h eir music whi ch

is offered on behalf of tte cong re g at i on and is no t a dd r eesed

to them.

Advantat:es for h av i n e: an organized c hoir are several.

The choir shoul d h a ve off i c e rs wh o c an assume the res p on s ibility

for tasks that are ne cese 3r y for the well-being o f the choir.

Ar:t or g anized choir e: i ves the me mbers a sense of unity and

a n offici a l channe l thr ou gh 1:1hich they me..y voice +' .r


c·DeJ..

p roblems. As elected officers the y can co mprise a. co mmit tee


:(v1i ).

which ca..n wo r l{ wi th the dire ctor on vit a l ma tt ers . Organiz a tion

I
stabilizes the choir s o that it is self-functioning, making it
less dependent on the di rector as an adm inistr ~ tor. Ca re

should be taken not to over or ganiz e the c h oir e_n d eech

officer mus t shoulder his or her responsibility ~f a healthy,

efficient organiz at ion is t o be maintained.

The mu si c commi ttee s hould rang e fro ~ five to nin e me mbers

and shoul d be respon s ible f or promoting the mu si c program

of t he church. The me mbers should be select e d for their

a bility to e d minlstor rather than a ctual musica l knowl edg e.

A c h oir memb e r shoul d be represented on the music co mm ~tt ee to

s erve as li e.ison between c hoir and co mmit tee. A representative

fro m t he official bo a rd, p refer a bly the chairman from the

fin en ce co mm ittee. The musi c co mmi ttee aids th e choir in


obt a ining new me mbers, doing publicity for spe ci al p rogPams,

r a ising money for v a rious need s of the ch oir, and g iving t h e


choir reco gnitlon by means of banquets e.nd special services.

The music co mm ittee should be r s sponslble for t he hiring of

mu e.~cle ade rs for the church and utilizing t h e entire mu sic a l

r es ourc e of the church.